Ramon Harewood ran out of the tunnel at M&T Bank Stadium after hearing his name announced from the loudspeaker before Baltimore's game with Cincinnati kicked off.

The crowd of over 71,000 remained somewhat quiet, a bit surprised Harewood was announced as a member of the starting offense. After all, Harewood, a 2010 sixth round draft pick, hadn't played a regular season down, having spent the past two seasons on injured reserve

But there he was, running onto the field as the Baltimore Ravens' starting left guard.

"It’s still sinking in, running in the tunnel, hearing my name," Harewood said, following Baltimore's 44-13 win over Cincinnati. "All that stuff is still sinking in. I would like to give you a nice little explanation but I really don’t have one."

Harewood practiced last week with the first team at left guard, lining up there once the 30-minute media viewing period was over with. But the coaches wouldn't definitively tell Harewood if he was starting or not, so he stayed mum on the issue in the locker room.

On Monday, when the Ravens went through their final walkthrough, he was asked to line up with the first team. At that moment, he knew he was going to start.

“I’d been going with the ones all week," Harewood said. "I kind of knew but nobody told me anything so I wasn’t going to go off of that.”

What makes Harewood's ascension to the starting left guard spot surprising, or even remarkable, is the fact he hadn't played the position at length until the day before the fourth preseason game against St. Louis.

Harewood's bosses tried him out at guard with the second unit against the Rams. From there, he began working more at the position to the point the coaches felt confident in his abilities as a starter.

“He's a big guy with long arms that can bend and get leverage on defensive tackles," Harbaugh said. "He’s done a good job with that.”

Harewood grew up in Barbados and admittedly knew little about football. The only three players he had ever heard of were Peyton Manning, Tom Brady and Jeremy Shockey. Ask him about the other football -- soccer -- and he could talk to you all day about it.

When Harewood attended Morehouse College in Atlanta on an academic scholarship, his original plan was to participate on the track and field team. His plan changed once the Morehouse football team discovered him, checking in at 6-6 and over 300 pounds (he's now listed at 334.)

Without ever playing the sport growing up, he was suddenly on a college football team in 2007. Four years later, the Ravens drafted Harewood in the sixth round.

In his first two NFL seasons, he was placed on injured reserve heading into the regular season. In 2010, he had surgery on both knees. In 2011, it was an ankle injury that required surgery.

In his attempt to get back to full strength, Harewood showed up at the Ravens training facility each day at 7 a.m., rehabbing his injuries. He has a tattoo on the right side of his chest that reads, "Victory belongs to those who persevere."

This year, Harewood had three goals: Be healthy through training camp, make the 53-man roster and become a starter. Consider all three goals accomplished.

"It’s a tremendous, personal victory for me, just to even step on the field right now after three surgeries in two years," Harewood said.

And to think, Harewood wasn't sure he'd even have a spot on the roster once final cut day arrived. After all, he was an injury-prone, sixth round draft pick who hadn't played in a game yet. In addition, the Ravens had picked up guard Bobbie Williams in free agency and drafted offensive lineman Kelechi Osemele out of Iowa State in the second round.

Harewood knew in the back of his mind that the numbers game could force him out of Baltimore just a couple of weeks ago. But he was still standing once Baltimore finalized its 53-man roster. And there he was Monday night, running out of the Ravens tunnel as a starter in his first career NFL game.

"I just wanted to go out there and give it my best shot," Harewood said. "I feel like as a man, if another man can do it then I can do it. That’s how I look at it. In my head it was just do your best every day, give your all and leave the rest in God’s hands.”

Follow Ravens reporter Jason Butt on Twitter: @CBSRavens and @JasonButtCBS.