Rams receiver and Baltimore native Tavon Austin is looking for a happy homecoming against the Ravens.
While at Dunbar High School, Austin played three times at M&T Bank Stadium as part of three consecutive state championship teams. However, Austin will play in Baltimore as a pro for the first time Sunday when the Ravens (2-7) host the Rams (4-5) in a battle of two teams trying to get on the right track.
Austin has seven touchdowns this season – four as a receiver, two as a runner, and one as a punt returner. His speed is an element the Ravens must be wary of, because the Rams like to get the ball in Austin’s hands any way possible.
Austin would love to make a few big plays Sunday in front of family and friends.
“It’s going to feel good to play (at) home,” Austin said during a conference call. “It’s about playing in front of my family. I won’t let it get to me too much. At the end of the day I have a job to get done. I’m trying to go in there and get a win. That’s my main goal.”
Austin was the eighth overall pick in the 2013 draft out of West Virginia, and he thought the Ravens would have drafted him had he fallen further.
“They definitely brought me in for a visit,” Austin said. “I met with the GM (Ozzie Newsome) – a great guy. He had a plan for me, they were going to draft me…but coach ‘Fish’ (Rams coach Jeff Fisher) pulled the trigger on me. That’s the guy I’m rolling with now.”
Austin returns to Baltimore during the offseason to conduct free football camps for kids.
“I do my camps at the Pop Warner field that I always played at when I was young, right by Douglass High School,” Austin said. “I had the kids up there from 9 (a.m.) to 2 (p.m.). I feed them. I don’t charge them anything.”
That’s a nice gesture by Austin. But on Sunday, he will try to make the Ravens’ defense pay.
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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