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Gradkowski, Ihedigbo named starters by Harbaugh

The Baltimore Sun

Gino Gradkowski has been named the Ravens starting center, according to coach John Harbaugh.

Gradkowski was competing with A.Q. Shipley, a former Indianapolis Colts starter, for the job. Gradkowski was groomed last season as the successor to six-time Pro Bowl center Matt Birk, who retired after the Super Bowl.

"Yes, it will be Gino starting," Harbaugh said. "I always consider A.Q. a starter, in a sense. He's played tremendously well, as has Gino. They've both done a great job, and we're fortunate to have both those guys playing that position for us."

Shipley played in the Ravens' preseason finale while Gradkowski was rested.

Meanwhile, strong safety James Ihedigbo will remain the starter at this time ahead of rookie strong safety Matt Elam.

Harbaugh emphasized that Elam and Ihedigbo will both see significant playing time.

Elam is a first-round draft pick from the University of Florida and a former consensus All-American.

"James has been running with the 'number ones,' and he'll continue to do that," Harbaugh said. "Matt plays a lot. He'll continue to do that whether it's in the regular package or the other packages that we have.

"Both of those guys are going to play a lot of football, just like our corners. Our corners, all three of those guys, are going to play a whole lot. Even Chykie [Brown] as the fourth corner is going to play a whole lot. That's modern football."



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