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AFC North: Browns taking hits early in free agency

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AFC North: Browns taking hits early in free agency

The start of free agency has left the Browns with even more holes to fill offensively.

Starting center Alex Mack has agreed to terms with the Falcons, according to multiple reports. Wide receiver Travis Benjamin, who was second on the Browns in receptions (68) and receiving yards (966) last season, has signed with the Chargers.

This wasn’t the way the Browns hoped to start free agency. They also failed to land former Bengals wide receiver Marvin Jones, who agreed to contract terms with the Lions. Jones would have been a nice get for the Browns, but he opted for the Lions, looking for wide receiver help after Calvin Johnson’s retirement.

It’s early in the game, but the Browns don’t seem to be gaining ground on their AFC North counterparts. They have a new decision-making hierarchy in place, featuring executive vice president of operations Sashi Brown, chief strategy officer Paul DePodesta, and coach Hue Jackson. However, the Browns have major needs, and if some of those needs aren’t addressed in free agency, it will put even more pressure on them in the draft.

MORE RAVENS: Ravens checking out speed WR in move to boost struggling offense

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Fellow dance student of Ravens' Alex Collins fatally shot in Florida school shooting

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USA Today Sports

Fellow dance student of Ravens' Alex Collins fatally shot in Florida school shooting

On Wednesday, February 14, a horrific school shooting claimed the lives of 17 innocent people at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla. 

The tragic event impacted people far and wide, and hit especially close to home for Ravens running back Alex Collins.

The former Arkansas star was born in Plantation, Fla., a suburb of Fort Lauderdale and went to high school just 15 miles south of Douglas High School. 

In the offseason, Collins took Irish dancing lessons to improve his footwork, and following the act of terror, the Ravens' tailback learned that one of his dance partners had been killed in the mass shooting.

17-year-old Cara Loughran attended The Drake school of Irish Dance with Collins in addition to two other Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School students and was fatally shot by the gunman on Wednesday afternoon. 

Collins took to his Twitter account to issue this heartfelt message.

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“The school shooting yesterday hit home,” Collins wrote.

“We received confirmation a few hours ago we lost one of the girls, Cara Loughran. Two other girls saw and experienced unspeakable tragedy. My heart goes out to these girls, all their families and their teacher Chrissy.”

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Baltimore Ravens to take on Chicago Bears in Hall of Fame game

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USA Today Sports

Baltimore Ravens to take on Chicago Bears in Hall of Fame game

BALTIMORE -- The Baltimore Ravens and Chicago Bears will launch the NFL's 99th season by playing in the annual Hall of Fame game on Aug. 2.

The Ravens' first appearance in the Hall of Fame game, which launches the league's 2018 Enshrinement Week. Former Baltimore linebacker Ray Lewis is among the inductees, along with former Bears linebacker Brian Urlacher.

Lewis, who played 17 seasons with the Ravens, and Urlacher, who played all of his 13 seasons with Chicago, both were elected on the first ballot.

Lewis joins Jonathan Ogden as the only Ravens in the Hall of Fame. Both were selected by Baltimore in the first round of the 1996 draft.

The other members of the Class of 2018 include Bobby Beathard, Robert Brazile, Brian Dawkins, Jerry Kramer, Randy Moss and Terrell Owens. All will be inducted on Saturday, Aug. 4.

This will be the record-tying fifth time that the Bears will play in the Hall of Fame game. They won the previous four, most recently 27-24 over Miami in 2005.

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