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Hall of Fame adds to busy week for Redskins' RG3

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Hall of Fame adds to busy week for Redskins' RG3

ASHBURN, Va. (AP) Robert Griffin III's week so far has consisted of his first Monday night football win, hearing fans chant his RG3 nickname throughout the Washington Wizards' Tuesday upset of the Miami Heat, and a Wednesday visit from an official who collected the rookie quarterback's jersey and cleats for the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

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``He's a unifying figure in the community,'' right guard Chris Chester said. ``I might need to bring him to my son's T-ball games.''

Seriously, Griffin can seem to do no wrong these days. Even Washington Redskins coach Mike Shanahan, who is hardly the easiest guy to impress, confesses to being mightily impressed by Griffin's charisma.

``He kind of surprises me in almost every situation, on how well he handles himself and how well he communicates,'' Shanahan said. ``I wish I could communicate like that. I'm going to have him talk to the team - in fact, I have the last couple of weeks.''

Griffin has led the Redskins (6-6) on a three-game winning streak that has Washington and closing in on first place in the NFC East heading into Sunday's matchup against the Baltimore Ravens. He broke Cam Newton's NFL single-season rushing record for yards rushing by a rookie quarterback during Monday night's 17-16 win over the New York Giants, thus prompting the Hall to request his cleats and dirt-stained No. 10 jersey.

``Everyone wants to be in the Hall of Fame,'' Griffin said, ``so we're in there. But I've got a long career, preferably, and this is only the first step. It's an honor to have my jersey and cleats, although they're very dirty, in the Hall of Fame.''

But, by now, everyone knows Griffin is more than numbers. He practically upstaged the Heat-Wizards game when he took his front-row seat to roars from the crowd in the first quarter. Sure enough, a Washington team that had won only one game previously all season stunned the reigning NBA champions.

``What can you say? Those guys are the ones who played. I didn't play the game,'' Griffin said. ``Even Coach said I can't go over there rubbing off, using all my magic on those guys when we need it for us.''

Such attention can be overwhelming for most 22-year-olds, but Griffin can handle it.

``It's humbling to have the fans, whether it's football fans, basketball fans, chanting or cheering for you,'' Griffin said. ``It means you're really doing something for the city.''

So, cornerback DeAngelo Hall was asked, is there anything Griffin can't do?

``Beat me in the 40,'' said Hall, a brave statement considering Griffin was a college hurdles champion. ``Don't tell him that, though. He's got young legs, so he might think he can get me.''

``The kid's special,'' Hall added. ``He's on the verge of being a rock star. We used to travel with Mike Vick when I was in Atlanta, and it was definitely a rock-star-type atmosphere wherever he went. And RG is having that same kind of following.

``When we were in Dallas, we saw people who had on Redskins gear and jerseys, and asked them, `You all Redskins fans?' `Nah.' `You hate the Cowboys?' `Nah. Just love RG.' `All right. We'll take it.'

``And that's kind of how it's been. Guys might not like the Redskins, but they love him. They love him personally. ... Or just like the excitement he brings to the game. People like him. Fans like him. And we're getting that reciprocating effect as far as Redskins teammates being able to get - wherever we go, whatever city we go to - people in the stands cheering for us. Whether they're cheering his name or cheering for us in general, he has that following.''

Notes: Hall was wearing a walking boot Wednesday after hurting his right ankle Monday night. Shanahan said he expects Hall to play against the Ravens. ``There's no way I'm not playing this game, so it's a non-story,'' Hall said. ... LB London Fletcher (sprained left ankle) and LT Trent Williams (left thigh bruise) also did not practice. ... Shanahan on CB Cedric Griffin, who was suspended Tuesday for four games for violating the NFL's policy on performance enhancing substances: ``He's a great kid, and I love the kid, how he handles himself. He just made a bad decision.'' ... The Redskins replaced Cedric Griffin on the 53-man roster by promoting T Tom Compton from the practice squad. They also signed CB Korey Lindsey and LB Kourtnei Brown to the practice squad.

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AP Pro Football Writer Howard Fendrich contributed to this report.

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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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