Rookie Bradley Bozeman made the first start of his NFL career when he lined up at left guard in place of the injured Alex Lewis (pinched nerve in neck) in the Ravens’ 24-23 loss to the New Orleans Saints on Sunday.
But when Bozeman suffered a left calf injury, he was replaced by Hroniss Grasu, who made his Ravens debut after joining the organization Sept. 24.
“It’s my fourth year in this league, and luckily, I have some experience under my belt,” said Grasu, whose full name is pronounced huh-Row-niss grass-UU. “The last real game I played was obviously in the preseason, but [offensive line] coach Joe [D’Alessandris] does such a great job of mixing us around in practice and getting us ready.”
Selected as a center by the Chicago Bears in the third round of the 2015 NFL draft, the 27-year-old Grasu said he had not played left guard since his junior year at Crespi Carmelite High School in Los Angeles. He acknowledged that the position switch took some adjustment on his part.
“It’s a mental thing,” he said. “It’s different. Your feet are back, I don’t have to snap the ball, my left hand is down instead of my right. But I practiced it. Never in a game-like situation, but the guys I was playing next to did such a great job of communicating, and I felt good out there.”
Grasu ended up playing 12 snaps, while Bozeman played the remaining 56 on offense. The franchise’s third of three sixth-round choices in April finished the game, but praised his teammate for filling in.
“I came back in and did what I could do, and when I couldn’t go, Hroniss went, and he came in and did a great job, too,” Bozeman said. “He was popping in left and right.”