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Flacco drops in best players poll voted on by peers

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Flacco drops in best players poll voted on by peers

Are there really 96 players in the NFL better than Joe Flacco? I don’t think so.

However, Flacco ranks No. 97 according to NFL Network’s Top 100 Players of 2015 voted on by players. Names 100 to 91 were revealed this week, and Flacco finished 97th, a significant drop from No. 58, where Flacco finished in 2014.

Ravens linebacker C. J. Mosley ranked ahead of Flacco at No. 94, after a superb rookie season that landed him in the Pro Bowl.

Flacco’s ranking doesn’t make much sense after he finished with career highs in touchdown passes (27) and throwing yards (3,986 yards), helping the Ravens reach the divisional round of the playoffs. Are there 96 players you would rather go to battle with in a playoff game than Flacco? If so, send me that list.

The debate on Flacco’s ranking among NFL quarterbacks never seems to die, and it won’t anytime soon. Part of that has to do with the six-year, $120.6 million contract Flacco signed after being the MVP of Super Bowl XLVII. Flacco’s salary cap number is set to nearly double after next season, from $14.55 million in 2015 to a whopping $28.55 million in 2016. The Ravens would like to restructure Flacco’s contract after next season to a more cap-friendly number. However, the better Flacco plays in 2015, the more leverage he will have in negotiations.

The Ravens helped Flacco in the draft with at least two weapons that should have an immediate impact – wide receiver Breshad Perriman, and tight end Maxx Williams. Running back Buck Allen could also be a rookie who earns regular time, and new offensive coordinator Marc Trestman is busy scheming various ways to utilize the Ravens’ talent.

Flacco doesn’t get caught up in the noise surrounding his contract, his ranking compared to other quarterbacks, or his image. Rarely will you find an athlete who appears to be more comfortable in his own skin.

However, you can believe Flacco is motivated to win another Super Bowl, and to put together his best season in 2015. Flacco may rank No. 97 in a players’ poll. But the most important player on the Ravens remains the guy wearing No. 5.

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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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