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Pittsburgh Profile: A.Q. Shipley

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Moon and Penn State alum finds niche with Colts

PITTSBURGH -- Indianapolis Colts center AQ Shipley was originally drafted by his hometown team when the Pittsburgh Steelers chose the Moon Township native in the seventh round (226th overall) of the 2009 NFL Draft. The Steelers waived him on September 5 but signed him to their practice squad the next day.

Shipley was with the Colts when they played at Heinz Field on Sunday afternoon in a 51-34 shootout win by the Steelers.

“This is the third time I’ve played at Heinz Field and been on the opposing side. It’s always fun to come back home. I grew up a Steelers fan,” Shipley said. “I’ve got a ton of friends and family still in Pittsburgh and anytime it’s a close trip for them to come and see me play, that’s always a win.”

The Philadelphia Eagles signed him as a free agent in January 2010 and he joined their practice squad in September of that year. The Eagles waived him in 2011 and the Colts signed him to a reserve contract in January 2012.

They assigned him to their practice squad at the beginning of the 2012 season and promoted him to their active roster in October of that year. The Colts traded him to the Baltimore Ravens in 2013 for a 2014 conditional draft pick. The Ravens waived him before the start of this season and the Colts claimed him back off waivers.

“I sure took quite a route to get here. It’s been a wild ride but wherever you find a niche, you find a niche,” Shipley said. “Fortunately, [Indianapolis] likes me. I got a lot of starts in Baltimore before circling back to here. It’s a good home for me.”

Shipley described his niche as always preparing to play for every game and being ready if his number is called.

“I can step in and be ready to play whenever they call on me, whether that’s starting or being a back-up,” Shipley said. “For the last three years, the team knows I’ll be ready to play every week.”

After playing high school football at Moon Township where he was a four-year starter, Shipley attended Penn State where he earned first team All-Big Ten honors at center as a junior in 2007 and was a Rimington Award candidate. He was an All-American his senior year and also won the Rimington Award and was named the Big Ten Offensive Lineman of the Year.

“I loved every game at Penn State. We won some games,” Shipley said. “I still follow Penn State every week. It was a tough loss [on Saturday against Ohio State in overtime]. It was ugly.”

Shipley credited his success in advancing from college football to the NFL to his perseverance and not listening to the critics while never giving up his dream of playing in the NFL.

“I was told I was too short. I was told my arms are too short. From the time I got into [the NFL]. I’ve had a chip on my shoulder. I’ve set out to prove everybody wrong, I’ve been fortunate enough to play in almost 50 games. I’ve started almost 20,” Shipley said. “The biggest thing is hard work and proving everybody that there’s more than measurable, nobody can measure the size of your heart.”

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