During Ray Lewis' time with the Ravens, one of the staples of the legendary middle linebacker's rigorous training regimen was running the steep hill at Oregon Ridge Park.
For years, Lewis would attack the incline early in the morning, sprinting up the old ski run in Hunt Valley while carrying logs or heavy weights.
Lewis has been retired for more than a year, but the Ravens are keeping the tradition of running the hill at Oregon Ridge.
Along with several other fitness enthusiasts, offensive linemen Jeremy Zuttah, A.Q. Shipley and Will Rackley ran the hill early Friday morning. Running back Ray Rice, wide receiver Torrey Smith, cornerback Jimmy Smith, safety Anthony Levine and former Maryland wide receiver Darrius Heyward-Bey, who now plays for the Pittsburgh Steelers, have also run the hill with Timonium-based trainer Kyle Jakobe of Sweat Performance to build up their leg strength and stamina.
"We've been working hard," said Shipley after a grueling workout at Oregon Ridge that included pushups between runs. "We've been going hard. This was kind of like our last bit of conditioning before camp starts. It was a heck of a day.
"It's tough. It's a heck of a workout. We've taken a likening to it and what Kyle's done. He's gotten us ready to roll."
This has been an important offseason for Shipley, who started nine games last season at left offensive guard after starter Kelechi Osemele suffered a season-ending back injury.
The converted center, acquired last year during an offseason trade from the Indianapolis Colts, has been concentrating on guard play.
"It's different," said Shipley, a 6-foot-1, 307-pound former Penn State player. "I've always kind of had a ball in my hand being a center. This offseason, I haven't really played much center at all. Obviously, I can still play it if they need me to. I've been focusing on both guard spots this offseason, and hopefully I'll have a chance to compete for one of them."
Osemele has made a sound return from back surgery to repair a herniated disk. Pro Bowl lineman Marshal Yanda is entrenched at right guard. So Shipley has been working with the second-team offense.
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Last season, Shipley built his confidence while getting acclimated to a new position. He was thrown into the lineup against the Miami Dolphins after Osemele had back spasms.
"Absolutely, I got better each game," Shipley said. "Last year when I went in against Miami, that was really my first time playing a full game at guard. I got better each game. My technique got better and my confidence got a lot better each game."
Running the hill has paid dividends for Shipley, who has lost weight since last season.
"A.Q. is one of the hardest workers I've ever seen," Jaboke said. "He shows up early every day. He's a beast with the way he goes about his work. He's very blue-collar. He's had to earn his stripes every place he's been. It's never easy. He's always had to fight for his playing time.
"He's leaned up. He's lost about 15, 16 pounds since he came back. He's added a lot of strength. He's super excited. He's zoned in."