The Baltimore Ravens landed Kent State’s undrafted free agents center Chris Anzevino and defensive tackle Ishmaa’ily Kitchen shortly after the last round of the NFL Draft.
Both Anzevino and Kitchen celebrated at the news that they would both be playing for the same team.
“I called Ish after the draft,” Anzevino said. “I asked him ‘Ish, where are you going to be?’ He said, ‘I’m going to the Ravens,’ and I just started yelling and screaming. So many emotions there because we’re both from Youngstown and went to Kent, we were roommates and now we’re both going to the Ravens.”
Talking to the Ravens for the past few days, Anzevino said the team expected to draft him. Unfortunately for Anzevino, the Ravens draft plans changed when an unexpected player fell to them late in the draft.
But going undrafted doesn’t discourage Anzevino the least. Just getting an opportunity to come in and have a chance is all he wanted.
“It’s been a goal my whole life to get to this opportunity, and it’s finally here,” Anzevino said. “This is just the beginning. It’s only going to be harder. I’m excited for it because this is my dream and I’ve sacrificed a lot for it and I’m blessed for this opportunity.”
Both Anzevino and Kitchen will be headed to Baltimore Thursday to sign contracts and start mini-camp with the team. Once there, both players will have to work through team workouts and summer camps in order to make the full roster.
Anzevino will have the chance to learn from one of the NFL’s smartest players in Harvard graduate Matt Birk, a 15-year veteran of the league. One of the reasons the Ravens signed Anzevino is to have someone to replace Birk when he retires after the 2012-13 season.
“I was talking to [the Ravens] and right now, I’ll be fighting for the backup position at center,” Anzevino said. “Once [Birk] retires, they were telling me that I will have the opportunity to be fighting for the starting position for the Ravens.”
The Ravens have a total of two centers on the team’s current roster while Kitchen will have a taller ladder to climb. There are four listed defensive tackles on the team with several more players coming in with the draft.
Contact Matt Lofgren at [email protected]