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First career start was learning experience for Ravens rookie RG Jermaine Eluemunor

First career start was learning experience for Ravens rookie RG Jermaine Eluemunor
Ravens guard Jermaine Eluemunor greets fans before the team's game against the Bears. (Nick Wass / AP)

The education of Jermaine Eluemunor continues.

The rookie got the first start of his fledgling career Sunday, lining up at right guard in the Ravens' 27-24 overtime loss to the Chicago Bears at M&T Bank Stadium. Overall, there were some positives, but the fifth-round draft pick was left wanting a different result.

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"I wish it would have ended up better," he said of the game. "But I learned out there against a really good player in No. 96 and a really good front. So it's an experience that I'm going to learn from. I'm going to watch the tape and build off of that."

No. 96 was defensive end Akiem Hicks, who powered past Eluemunor to sack quarterback Joe Flacco on the offense's second snap of the third quarter. Hicks, who finished with three tackles, earned an 85.4 grade from Pro Football Focus, second highest on the Bears.

Matching up against a sixth-year veteran like Hicks might have been a bit too much to ask of a player trying to replace six-time Pro Bowl selection Marshal Yanda and backup Matt Skura, but Eluemunor, 22, refused to use his youth as an excuse.

"It's the NFL, and there's a good defense and good players every week," he said. "You have to be pro, even if you're a rookie."

Coach John Harbaugh described the 6-foot-4, 338-pound Eluemunor's debut as "OK."

"He had some good plays and some not-so-good plays," Harbaugh said Monday. "He fought, competed. One good thing about him is, he's very physical, he's very stout, so he didn't get pushed around. He got edged one time really badly on a pass protection. He'll want that one back, but all in all, he did OK."

Eluemunor said his practices last week with the first-team offense helped prepare him for Sunday's game. But he acknowledged that there is a difference between practice against a scout team and a game against an NFL opponent.

"Yeah, there is an adjustment period, but once you get to play, you can't use that as an excuse," he said. "So I'm a rookie, but I have to come out here for every single play. I don't care if I'm rookie. I have to give it everything I've got. I'm a player, and I'm going to make them respect me."

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