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Old 05-28-2009, 12:37 AM   #1
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Default Shipley thrilled by chance with Steelers

Shipley thrilled by chance with Steelers
Penn State's A.Q. Shipley gets to start his NFL career with his hometown team.
Wednesday, May 27, 2009
BY DALE GRDNIC
For The Patriot-News
http://www.pennlive.com/nfl/patriotn...820.xml&coll=1

PITTSBURGH - Former Penn State center A.Q. Shipley thought he was going to be selected earlier than the seventh round during last month's NFL draft.

But even though the 2008 All-American and Rimington Trophy winner as the nation's top center lasted nearly until the end of the two-day event, things could work out just fine with the Pittsburgh Steelers.

"We all want the biggest, the fastest, all the measurables," Kevin Colbert, the Steelers' director of football operations, said. "[But] you're not going to get that. I always tell players that 90 percent of their evaluation is from August until December, what we see them do on the field.

"[Shipley] was a productive player. When we interviewed defensive linemen ... we always ask them who was the toughest offensive lineman he went against. We got A.Q.'s name quite often. So I can't answer why he lasted. We're happy to get him where we got him because we think he'll come in and he'll compete."

Shipley, from Moon Twp. in suburban Pittsburgh, was contacted by representatives from Cincinnati and San Diego, but he was thrilled to be taken by his hometown Steelers.

"As a Steelers fan growing up, especially being from Pittsburgh, it meant the absolute world to me when I finally got the call and Coach [Mike] Tomlin got on the phone," Shipley said.

"It was unbelievable and meant the world to me. I think this is a great fit for me. After [starting center] Justin Hartwig, I think the Steelers' backup center last year was the starting guard.

"So the fact that I have an opportunity to make the team and learn from a guy like Justin is great."

Steelers offensive line coach Larry Zierlein and Colbert heard about Shipley's shortcomings, his short arms and lack of height, but they clearly believed that the 6-foot-1, 300-pound powerhouse should overcome them.

"He played at Penn State and did a great job," Colbert said. "You're going to hear that he's short and his arms are only 29 inches, but once we figure out a way to measure a heart, then we'll be on to something.

"A.Q. is a productive, tough player. That's what we're looking for in these late rounds."

Shipley also is aware that the center position has a storied past with the Steelers. The lineage includes Ray Mansfield, Mike Webster, Dermontti Dawson and former Penn Stater Jeff Hartings.

Shipley also could play guard, if necessary, and position flexibility makes him valuable to the team.

Shipley has been taking part in the Steelers' spring workouts since the draft and appears to be settling in after a slow start to the noncontact practice sessions.

"It's been a slow transition for me, a learning experience, but I'm getting there," Shipley said. "We ran similar concepts at Penn State, and I'm sure there are similar concepts at other places. But the terminology is different. The way they make their calls and things like that.

"Rookies like me, we need all the reps we can get," Shipley added, "mentally and on the field. Right now, the physical reps help me a lot."

The learning process has reminded him of his early days at Penn State.

"I guess you could compare being a rookie in the NFL like being a freshman in college," Shipley said.

"When I got to Penn State, I had to prove some things to my teammates and the coaches. And it's certainly the same thing here with the Steelers."
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Old 05-28-2009, 04:39 AM   #2
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Default Re: Shipley thrilled by chance with Steelers

I hope this guy pans out I like him alot and hopefully he will be able to contribute on the offensive line somewhere.
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Old 05-28-2009, 08:27 AM   #3
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Default Re: Shipley thrilled by chance with Steelers

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I hope this guy pans out I like him alot and hopefully he will be able to contribute on the offensive line somewhere.

I think he will do fine. He is definately a steal at for the 7th round. Look at what we have done with non drafted players. Our scouts definately know their stuff.
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Old 05-28-2009, 08:41 AM   #4
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Default Re: Shipley thrilled by chance with Steelers

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Shipley, from Moon Twp. in suburban Pittsburgh, was contacted by representatives from Cincinnati and San Diego, but he was thrilled to be taken by his hometown Steelers.

"As a Steelers fan growing up, especially being from Pittsburgh, it meant the absolute world to me when I finally got the call and Coach [Mike] Tomlin got on the phone," Shipley said.
I certainly hope this tough little T-Rex makes the cut.

He's living his dream....
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Old 05-28-2009, 05:43 PM   #5
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Default Re: Shipley thrilled by chance with Steelers

Normally i dont have much to say about 7th round picks, but I think Shipley could be something. Those "silly" awards like the Rimington are imo, quite overrated, but i like this kid, and what he did in college. Boys, keep you eye on him.
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Old 05-29-2009, 01:09 AM   #6
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Default Re: Shipley thrilled by chance with Steelers

I'm definately not a PSU fan but hopefully since we drafted him he works out....
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Old 05-29-2009, 07:05 PM   #7
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Default Re: Shipley thrilled by chance with Steelers

Loved this pick from the minute we did it! 2 years, he's our starter.
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Old 05-29-2009, 07:19 PM   #8
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Default Re: Shipley thrilled by chance with Steelers

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I'm definately not a PSU fan but hopefully since we drafted him he works out....
yeah same here, i'm not that optimistic about him panning out, and judging by his 7th rd selection, i think 32 teams agree to a certain degree.... the thing that really makes me leary of him was the steelers passed him up in the 6th for harris....
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