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Bisciotti will speak, and fans will listen closely

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Bisciotti will speak, and fans will listen closely

What does Ravens owner Steve Bisciotti have to say about a disappointing 5-11 season? We’ll find out Thursday afternoon at 2, when Bisciotti joins general manager Ozzie Newsome, team president Dick Cass, and coach John Harbaugh at the annual “State of the Ravens” press conference.

It will be interesting. Bisciotti rarely speaks to the media, and he can’t be happy about what transpired. The Ravens missed the postseason for the second time in three years, and were realistically out of contention by Halloween after starting 1-6.

Inquiring minds want to know:

1. What are the organization’s priorities heading into free agency and the draft?

The Ravens hold the No. 6 pick, and they need playmakers on both sides of the football. They haven’t made a top-10 pick since 2003, when they took outside linebacker Terrell Suggs at No. 10. That was an impact pick for the Ravens, and they need impact draft picks this season to close the talent gap between them and the AFC North’s two playoff teams – the Bengals and Steelers.

RELATED: Is Notre Dame's Jaylon Smith too risky a pick for Ravens?

2. What are the team’s plans at left tackle?

Kelechi Osemele, who will be a free agent, ended the season as the starting left tackle after moving from left guard. Eugene Monroe, who still has three years left on a five-year, $37.5 million contract, has been unable to stay healthy the last few years. Will the Ravens push hard to re-sign Osemele, are they ready to part with Monroe, or will they consider taking a left tackle high in the draft, despite having so many other needs?

3. Is Suggs still a major part of the team’s plans?

Recovering from his Week 1 season-ending Achilles injury, Suggs didn’t speak with the media on locker room cleanout day. He was in a walking boot Dec. 27 while watching the Ravens beat the Steelers. Asked Monday if he had talked to Suggs about rehabbing, wide receiver Steve Smith cryptically said, “Suggs is a little vulnerable right now. So I’m not going to talk to Suggs about it. He’s not a ray of sunshine like he usually is.” Suggs is the Ravens’ all-time sack leader with 106½, but he’s also 33 years old.

4. How worried is Bisciotti about successfully restructuring quarterback joe Flacco’s contract?

Flacco’s salary cap number for next season is $28.55 million, and the six-year, $120.6 million deal that he signed in 2012 needs to be reworked to give the Ravens more offseason flexibility. Flacco wants the Ravens to have more salary cap room to acquire more weapons, but negotiations involving that much cash are not simple.

5. Is Harbaugh planning any coaching staff changes?

With NFL coaches being fired left and right, Harbaugh is safe. But will his staff return intact after his worst season as a head coach?

MORE RAVENS: Why Tucker is 'optimistic' deal will get done with Ravens

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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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