OWINGS MILLS – For nine seasons, star defensive tackle Haloti Ngata was a major reason why the Ravens had faith in their run defense. The offseason trade of Ngata to the Lions puts pressure on the defense to help compensate for his loss.
Some of the load will fall on defensive tackle Brandon Williams, who became a starter in 2014 and had a strong season. Ngata was a mentor to Williams, and following Thursday’s OTA session, Williams made it clear he was embracing next season’s challenge.
“It tells me I just have to step up, (and) we have to do more,” Williams said. “I accept the challenge, willingly, to get out there and do everything I have to do to be my best player, my best self. And that goes for everybody else on the defensive line. We don’t need anybody to be Haloti. We just need everybody to be their best selves, and we’ll be fine.”
Williams looks like a potential star – powerful and athletic like Ngata, although not as tall or experienced. With Williams and defensive tackle Timmy Jernigan, the Ravens have two young linemen they expect to be playmakers for years to come. The Ravens’ defensive line will have a new look without Ngata. But Williams sounds confident the Ravens will adjust.
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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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