A.Q. Shipley will start Thursday for the Ravens

Perhaps one of the more under-the-radar competitions in the NFL right now is the race for the starting center job in Baltimore. With veteran Matt Birk retiring earlier in the offseason, the Ravens brought in A.Q. Shipley to compete with Gino Gradkowski for the position.

Shipley will receive his first opportunity to start a game for the Ravens this Thursday versus the Falcons after Gradkowski started the first preseason game against the Buccaneers.

Ravens run game coordinator Juan Castillo likes the Ravens options at the center position.

“They’re both playing real well right now. They’re both doing a good job. They’re both in the pass protection, both using their hands real well.”

Gradkowski was a fourth round selection of the Ravens in 2012 and is entering his second pro season. Shipley, meanwhile, was drafted by the Steelers in 2009 and has had other stints with the Eagles and Colts before being traded to the Ravens for a seventh round draft pick in May.

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