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Browns rookie emerges from rocky past

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Browns rookie emerges from rocky past

The arc of Nate Orchard’s life follows a somewhat similar path to that of former Raven Michael Oher’s “Blind Side” story. ESPN.com laid out the history this week.

Orchard, a linebacker from Utah taken by the Cleveland Browns in the second round of the draft, went through a great deal of upheaval in his young life.

Born in California, Orchard was sent to live in Salt Lake City with his brother at 10 or 11 when his mother decided she couldn’t provide for him. (Orchard doesn’t know his father.) After three years, financial woes forced his brother to move in with his in-laws, leaving Orchard with no home. With few other choices, Orchard approached his high school basketball coach. Dave and Katherine Orchard took him in, and a temporary arrangement became a permanent one — the Orchards took over as his guardians.

Not that it was all smooth from there out.

"They've been great to me, never gave up on me," Orchard said. "I ran away a lot as a kid, was stubborn and didn't want to be in the environment. It was such a culture shock, but I made it work."

In addition to running away, he fathered a daughter at 15 (the girl was adopted).

However, Orchard’s life stabilized. He went to Utah and turned into an NFL prospect by showing enough pass rushing ability to record 18.5 sacks last season. Two years ago, he married his girlfriend from high school and also changed his last name, Fakahafua, assuming the name of the family that helped raise him from runaway teenager to potential pro football player. And when he and his wife had a daughter, they named her Katherine, in honor of Katherine Orchard.

"Being married and having the stability and realizing that football is the way that I am going to feed my family and I have to take it more seriously and do my work and become the best player I know I can be, and I did just that," he said.

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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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