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Galax Steeler
01-08-2010, 04:53 AM
PITTSBURGH — A.Q. Shipley’s rookie year with the Steelers was a positive experience. But that doesn’t mean he’ll be back next season.

On Thursday, the Steelers signed seven of their eight practice squad players to their off-season roster. The only practice squad player not signed was Shipley, a center.

“An offer is on the table, but my agent and I are trying to figure out what’s best for me,” said Shipley.

In other words, Shipley wants to play.

On game days next year, the former Moon Area and Penn State standout wants to be in uniform as a member of a 53-man active roster. There are no guarantees that will happen in Pittsburgh. That’s why Shipley and his agent Eric Metz are exploring other options.

For the time being, he is not under contract with the Steelers.

Shipley came to the Steelers as the first of their two seventh-round picks in the 2009 Draft. But with Justin Hartwig entrenched as the starter at center, Shipley was among those released in the final cut on Sept. 5. He was then signed to the practice squad and remained there all season.

The Steelers kept nine offensive linemen, including first-year pro Doug Legursky and rookies Kraig Urbik and Ramon Foster.

As one of three third-round draft picks, Urbik wasn’t going to be cut. Legursky and Foster, both undrafted out of college, had the edge over Shipley because they were able to play two positions. Foster wound up starting four games at left guard due to injuries to Chris Kemoeatu.


But even as a practice squad player, Shipley learned a lot about the pro game.

“It was great,” he said. “Obviously, I was a little disappointed at first about being on the practice squad. I wanted to play. I felt I was good enough to play. I thought I played well enough in the preseason. But it just didn’t work out.

“Still, from a first-year perspective, I think things went pretty well. I was able to go against (nose tackle) Casey Hampton, a Pro Bowler, every day in practice. I was able to practice against some good linebackers. I was able to get some more reps at guard and learn the system a little bit more. I put on about 10-to-15 pounds. So, yeah, it was a great experience.”

Playing on the practice squad did cost Shipley some cash. Had he made the active roster, he would have been paid $310,000, the NFL minimum for a first-year player. Practice squad players make around $88,400.

Shipley was able to keep his $42,000 signing bonus.

“I’m going to take a little time off and rest,” Shipley said. “I’ve been training since I got off the plane from the Rose Bowl last year. I really haven’t had any time off. So I need a break. Maybe I’ll take a vacation here and there.

“Then when I come back and start training again, it’ll be full go.”

http://www.timesonline.com/bct_news/news_details/article/1373/2010/january/08/shipleys-fut

markymarc
01-08-2010, 03:27 PM
At least this explains why he wasnt' signed to the active roster after the season ended. Thanks for sharing this article Galax. I would be surprised if Shipley doesn't end up coming back to the Steelers. If he learned how to play the guard spot then he might have a good shot of making the 53 man roster in 2010.

KeiselPower99
01-08-2010, 04:10 PM
With Legursky being a G/C Shipley is better off trying to find a spot on another team. Great story and all but it is a biz and I wish young Shipley well.

El-Gonzo Jackson
01-08-2010, 04:58 PM
No surprise here. The PSU homers that were touting him as the 2nd coming of Mike Webster were a bit premature.

Many have said all along that with his quickness and T-Rex like arms....he should best fit in a zone blocking O line. My bet is that he signs with the Colts in the offseason and battles Mike Pollack to become the heir to Jeff Saturday when he retires. Colts would be a good fit.

markymarc
01-09-2010, 11:56 AM
With Legursky being a G/C

I was very impressed with Legursky this season. I am glad we brought him back and he can be a very solid backup center and guard for a long time. Actually having Doug could mean the end of Darnell Stapleton in Pittsburgh.

KeiselPower99
01-09-2010, 12:08 PM
Ill be interested to see the battle between Stapleton and Legursky come training camp.

El-Gonzo Jackson
01-09-2010, 12:13 PM
Ill be interested to see the battle between Stapleton and Legursky come training camp.

My guess is Stapleton will not be at training camp. He is a FA this year and with an interior lineman pool of Legursky, Foster, Urbik......he's probably not worth the $$ to re-sign. Maybe see another OG drafted late, but I hope no Stapleton.

markymarc
01-09-2010, 12:55 PM
My guess is Stapleton will not be at training camp. He is a FA this year and with an interior lineman pool of Legursky, Foster, Urbik......he's probably not worth the $$ to re-sign. Maybe see another OG drafted late, but I hope no Stapleton.

That is a good point. I would not be surprised to see Stapleton brought back because like you said we have Legursky, Foster and Urbik.

acumen
01-09-2010, 03:16 PM
Yep, Legursky keeps me a-ok with this decision. Between him, Foster and Urbik, I hope we can give Darnell the punt, and it'll be interesting to see whether we look to replace Hills with a higher rated Tackle prospect at the draft.

Any word yet on Johnny Williams?