Five for Friday: A look at the top battles in Ravens training camp
Believe it or not, the start of Ravens training camp is suddenly just a few days away. Soon, in these steamy days of summer, dozens of large men will be competing for roster spots, playing time and, for some, the chance to be in the starting lineup. Whether the coaches will admit it or not, most of the starting spots are settled. But there are a few still up for grabs. In this week's Five for Friday, Baltimore Sun blogger and reporter Matt Vensel lists five heated position battles we will be keeping an eye on training camp.
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Center: Gino Gradkowski (left) vs. A.Q. Shipley
At the start of the offseason, Gradkowski, a second-year center out of Delaware, was the only contender in the battle to replace veteran Matt Birk, who retired after the Super Bowl. But this spring, the Ravens drafted Ryan Jensen and acquired Shipley in a trade with the Indianapolis Colts. Shipley, who has some NFL experience, is expected to push Gradkowski hardest, but Gradkowski is still the frontrunner. He spent a year picking Birk's Harvard educated-brain and now must prove he isn't going to get pushed around.