At the State of the Ravens press conference in January, GM Ozzie Newsome made one promise about the teams 2012 roster.
We will have another center, he said.
Even though the team eventually re-signed incumbent starting center Matt Birk, Newsomes pledge led to months of speculation about the Ravens possibly drafting Wisconsin center Peter Konz with their top pick. Birk could mentor Konz and eventually pave the way for a positional handoff.
They didnt do that in the end, but they did possibly address their future at center Saturday when they selected Delawares Gino Gradkowski with their fourth-round pick the 98th overall selection in the draft.
The 6-2, 300-pound Gradkowski the younger brother of MFL quarterback Bruce Gradkowski -- was an All-American who can also play guard.
But he hopes to play center in the NFL one day.
Im elated right now because Baltimore plays football the way its supposed to be played, Gradkowski told Baltimore reporters Saturday. Yeah, its a perfect spot for me. Come in and maybe play guard my first year and eventually take over at center, and thats what I was looking to do; get in behind a veteran like Matt Birk. Im really excited to meet him and pick his brain about football. Its a perfect scenario, and I just couldnt be happier.
In his first action since 2016, Robert Griffin, III took the field for the Ravens, lining up at receiver.
The former Heisman Trophy winner faked an end around with Lamar Jackson and gave a nod to the crowd as he returned to the sideline.
Serving as a decoy on a first-quarter play would normally go unnoticed, but for the former first round draft pick it was a big step in his journey back to the NFL.
Once an electrifying rookie for the Redskins in 2012, injuries, clashes with teammates and coaches and the emergence of Kirk Cousins led to his departure from Washington following the 2015 season.
After spending one injury-shortened season in Cleveland, Griffin spent the entire 2017 season out of the NFL.
He signed a one-year contract with the Ravens in April.
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Lamar Jackson didn’t throw a pass in his first drive as starting quarterback, but his legs were just enough to lead the Ravens an early 7-0 lead over the Bengals.
Jackson rushed five times for 46 yards while converting two third downs as Baltimore culminated a 11-play, 75-yard drive with an Alex Collins 7-yard touchdown run.
It was the only drive by an NFL team so far this season with more than 10 rushes and no pass attempts.
Jackson made his first career start on Sunday, stepping in for the injured Joe Flacco, who was sidelined with an injured hip.
Flacco will avoid having surgery, but he is expected to miss at least one week, opening the door for Jackson to get more time under center as the Ravens’ starter.
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