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Baltimore Ravens: News and Notes as Training Camp Approaches

Yahoo Contributor Network

COMMENTARY | With training camp set to get underway in just a few weeks for the defending Super Bowl champion Baltimore Ravens, the team has been quiet on the transaction front.

Barring any last-minute trade or veteran minimum signing, no major additions or subtractions will be made until camp is underway.

Heading into the first full participation, full-contact practices, here are the latest news and notes regarding the Ravens:

Joe Flacco Speaks Positive of Gino Gradkowski

One of the most interesting training camp position battles to follow will be at center, where second-year lineman Gino Gradkowski is currently the favorite to take over Matt Birk's former role as the starter.

Gradkowski will compete with newly added lineman A.Q. Shipley, as well as rookie Ryan Jensen. So far, Flacco has praised Gradkowski, according to BaltimoreRavens.com.

"I think Gino has done a great job of picking the offense up and being able to kind of get in there right away and do pretty good," Flacco told the Ravens' official website.

Ravens Well-Represented at the ESPYS

Every summer, ESPN's annual award show, the ESPYS, celebrates the greatest teams, plays, players and moments of the past calendar year. In past years, Ravens players were nowhere to be found in any category, but this year is much different.

As Yahoo! Sports Baltimore Ravens columnist Shawn Bruabaker writes, the Ravens are well-represented at the ESPYS, up for four different awards.

The nominees include Best Play (Ray Rice's 4th and 29), Best Team, Best Championship Performance (Joe Flacco's Super Bowl MVP performance) and Best Game (Divisional Round at Denver).

Of the four awards, Flacco's Super Bowl performance may give the Ravens the best chance of winning an award.

Flacco Primed To Become The Ravens' Iron Man

Barring an injury during the preseason, when Joe Flacco takes the field against the Denver Broncos on September 5, it will be his 81st consecutive start a team record.

As BaltimoreRavens.com points out, Flacco is currently tied with former outside linebacker Jarret Johnson with 80 consecutive starts. Flacco has 93 consecutive starts including the playoffs, but the start in Denver will make him the Ravens' official "Iron Man."

Flacco is currently 15th all-time in consecutive regular season starts. If he starts all 16 games in 2013, he will move up to eighth on the all-time list.

Kyle Casey is a sports writer living in Baltimore, Md. He maintains his own football site, End Zone Report, and contributes to Russell Street Report, a Baltimore Ravens blog.

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