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Back spasms sideline Birk

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Back spasms sideline Birk

Ravens coach John Harbaugh revealed Friday why center Matt Birk hasnt practiced since last weekend.

Matt has had some back spasms, Harbaugh said after the teams daily training camp practice in Owings Mills.

Birks continued absence is attributable to both me and Matt, Harbaugh continued. Matts had the back spasms and Im probably going to slow him down a little more, especially this week.

The Ravens open their preseason schedule Thursday night in Atlanta, and it sounds as if Birk wont play.

Maybe after the game well get him back, Harbaugh said.

The coach didnt seem overly concerned. This time a year, Birk, 36, was coming back from knee surgery and sat out much of training camp and the entire preseason. But then he started every game for the Ravens in the regular season and playoffs, and after contemplating retirement, elected to re-sign with the Ravens, landing a three-year, 8.5 million deal.

Nonetheless, the news of a new health issue for Birk is only going to fuel speculation about whether he is capable of holding up for an entire season in his 15th year in the NFL. He has dealt with several knee issues in the past few years and underwent a procedure to repair the varicose veins in his legs in June.

Now he has a sore back, too.

In other injury news:

Defensive end Arthur Jones underwent an MRI on his hip. Hes had a hip flexor issue. We dont know the results (of the MRI) yet, Harbaugh said.

Cornerback Jimmy Smith left practice Thursday because his back locked up, Harbaugh said. Its a muscular thing, nothing serious, something he dealt with in college. It should take a couople of days.

Rookie linebacker Courtney Upshaw missed another practice Friday with a bruised shoulder. Like Birk, he hasnt practiced since last weekend.

Fullback Vonta Leach sat out Fridays practice because of back spasms, and David Reed (knee), Jah Reid (calf) and Bernard Pierce (hamstring) were among those who also didnt practice.

Harbaugh said that Bryant McKinnie's sore back, which reportedly kept him from reporting on time to training camp, has cleard up. McKinnie passed his conditioning test Friday and returned to practice.

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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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