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Best of the Best: The case for Ed Reed

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Best of the Best: The case for Ed Reed

When Patriots quarterback Tom Brady faced Ed Reed in the AFC Championship Game, Brady wore a message on his wristband: "Find 20 on every play."

In a nutshell, that illustrates just how much respect -- and fear -- opponents had for Reed, the game-changing, ballhawk safety who patrolled the back end of a defense like few others in NFL history.

Patriots coach Bill Belichick has called him the best free safety he's ever seen in the NFL, an opinion that would surely be seconded by many.

Reed, the Ravens first-round draft pick in 2002, retired this past spring after playing for 12 seasons, 11 of them in Baltimore. Reed finished with 64 career interceptions, the sixth-highest total in NFL history, and his total of 61 picks with the Ravens is far and away the team record (Ray Lewis ranks second at 31).

Reed played with a style all his own. He was unpredictable, and at times seemed to be freelancing his way around the back of the Ravens defense. But make no mistake: He always had a plan. Meticulous in his film study, Reed was tremendous at picking up on subtleties and quarterback tendencies, and then daring a quarterback to make a throw. And when the quarterback made a mistake, Reed pounced.

Reed holds the top three single-season interception totals in Ravens history, and also holds the team record with seven interception return touchdowns. (He also probably holds the team record for most interception return laterals, but that's unofficial...).

No one in NFL history has more interception return yardage (1,590), and his nine interceptions in the postseason is tied for a league record as well.

Reed made the Pro Bowl nine times and will be inducted into the Ravens Ring of Honor this fall. A trip to Canton and induction in the Pro Football Hall of Fame is sure to follow.

RELATED: Best of the Best: The case for Joe Flacco

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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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