View Full Version : Shipley shaping up at center

08-13-2009, 08:31 PM
Shipley shaping up at center
By Julie Gebhard
Times Sports Staff

LATROBE Steelers rookie center A.Q. Shipley knows what its like to perform in packed and rowdy stadiums, be a part of successful teams, and play for winning coaches. Hes been there before.

But making the leap from college football to the NFL will be a whole new ball game for Shipley when the Steelers take on Arizona at Heinz Field tonight in the preseason opener for both teams.

Im getting more and more comfortable everyday, said Shipley. I think camp is going well for me and Im just trying to polish everything up.

Shipley, a graduate of Moon Area High School and Penn State, has had his fair share of success over the years. He led his Moon Tigers to the WPIAL Class AAA semifinals in 2003, played in the Big 33 Football Classic in 2004, and was a member of Moons state championship basketball team in 2005.

In his senior year at Penn State under Joe Paterno, he was the recipient of the Rimington Trophy as the nations top center, voted Big Ten Offensive Lineman of the Year and was an All-American selection.

His last honor was being picked in the seventh round of the NFL Draft to play for his hometown team.

Despite his achievements, Shipley knows that everything is different, and tougher, in the world of professional football. Probably the biggest adjustment that Shipley will have to make, however, is not playing first string. At training camp, Shipley is working with the third-team offensive line. Currently ahead of him are Justin Hartwig and Doug Legurksy.

Last Monday, things got a little more challenging for Shipley when the Steelers signed center Alex Stepanovich, a fourth-round draft pick by Arizona in 2004. Stepanovich played three seasons with the Cardinals before playing for Cincinnati in 2007 and Atlanta in 2008.

The Steelers thought it would be best to add some depth to the offensive line when Hartwig injured his toe at the start of camp and Darnell Stapleton, who was called on to play backup center last year, needed time to recover from left knee surgery.

Stepanovich has five years of professional football experience over Shipley, including 34 career starts. Its not easy competing against a veteran, but the rookie isnt too concerned.

I cant control it, he said. Hes been in the league for awhile and is a good player. But I just need to focus on what I can do to get better at this point.

08-13-2009, 10:41 PM
Shipley was a steal.

08-13-2009, 10:51 PM
Tat dude was lost tonight against 3 stringers.....

08-14-2009, 05:37 AM
I hope things work out for him The guy is all heart and doesnt stop working and is a great leader. Im a huge Penn State fan and I hope that his short arms dont put him at too big of a disadvantage

Galax Steeler
08-14-2009, 06:18 AM
He still has a long ways to go I am pulling for him. Hopefully he will make the team.

08-14-2009, 06:32 AM
I hope fo him that he is at least able to make the practice squad this year..

08-14-2009, 08:04 AM
He is gonna end up on the PS due to Foster looking good and Legursky being able to play both C and G. He is caught in the numbers game right now.

Steely McSmash
08-14-2009, 08:34 AM

PS unless he can long snap or somebody else gets hurt.