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Charles is 'straw that stirs the drink'

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Charles is 'straw that stirs the drink'

Chiefs runningback Jamal Charles took a toss sweep to the right, but had no running room. Hestopped, reversed course, ran all the way back to the left, shed a tackler,shot through a gap and proceeded to run 37 yards for a touchdown.That play, in theChiefs' 37-20 loss to San Diego last week, illustrated the challenge the Ravensface this week against Charles, who ranks second in the NFL with 415 rushingyards through four games. "JamaalCharles is the straw that stirs the drink," Ravens coach John Harbaughsaid when meeting with the media on Wednesday. "Hes really special. Hecan run them all the inside plays, the outside plays. Hes not just a guy whotries to run outside, though he does. He can cut it back. He cut it all the wayback last week against San Diego. ... Hes a very special player."The 6-foot-1,200-pound Charles had back-to-back 1,000-yard seasons in 2009 and 2010 but thenmissed virtually all of last season after suffering a torn ACL in Week 2 lastseason against the Lions.He answered any questions about his surgicallyrepaired knee in Week 2 this year, when he exploded through a hole on the leftside and outran everyone for a 91-yard score in the Chiefs' 27-24, overtime winat New Orleans. Charles finished with 33 carries for 233 yards in that game,the second-highest single-game total in team history. Speaking with themedia on Wednesday, Ravens linebacker Ray Lewis said Charles is "one ofthose guys that are home run hitters. If you let him get in the open field you saw it last week against the Saints you jump out of a gap here or there,one seam, and hes out of the gate."The Ravens facedCharles once before, in the 2010 playoffs. He had nine carries for 82 yards anda touchdown in that game, a 30-7 Ravens win.Charles, 26, wasa third-round pick out of Texas in 2008, part of the deep running back draftclass that included Darren McFadden, Rashard Mendenhall, Chris Johnson, Riceand Matt Forte, among others. Charles was takenafter all those backs, and Rice said because of that, "Im sure he playswith a chip on his shoulder. And obviously, last year with the injury, the guyis coming out to prove hes an elite back in this league again.""That guygets out in space," Rice added, "its trouble for a lot of people.

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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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