SAN JOSE, Calif., - News and notes from Thursday’s practice in California:
- Jason Babin looks ready to see action against the Raiders.
According to defensive coordinator Dean Pees, the Ravens' newly-acquired pass rusher kept himself in peak condition since being cut by the Jets on Sept. 5.
“Some of these guys come in sometimes and they work out and it doesn’t look real good,” Pees said. “So I like the fact that he came in in shape. He’s spending time with (linebackers) coach (Ted) Monachino trying to learn the system. He’s coming here trying to learn our defense and we appreciate that.”
- It keeps sounding more and more like Steve Smith will be the Ravens’ primary punt returner, not only Sunday against the Raiders, but beyond.
Special teams coordinator Jerry Rosburg gushed about Smith’s skills as a returner.
“The way we look at it, we want to have our best football team out there,” Rosburg said. “I can assure you Steve Smith is excited to be back there. He’s a competitor, he loves playing football, he likes having the ball in his hands. He’s the best guy we got. He’s going in the guy because we’re trying to win.
“If we had someone that we felt at this time was more appropriate to put in there for that position, we’d put him in. But at this time, right now, right here, Steve Smith’s our best option. I’m excited to have him back there. I see him trot back there it gives me a lot of confidence.”
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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.”
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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