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Harbaugh: Young players need offseason structure

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Harbaugh: Young players need offseason structure

Ravens coach John Harbaugh suggested it would be wise for the NFL to increase the time that young players are allowed to participate in offseason team activities.

Ravens cornerback Tray Walker, who was just 23 years old, died March 18 from injuries suffered in a dirt bike accident the night before in his hometown of Liberty City, Fla. Walker had planned on returning to the Baltimore area in several weeks for offseason workouts. However, NFL teams are not allowed to begin official offseason team activities until mid-April. The most recent collective bargaining agreement in 2011 reduced offseason workouts by five weeks.

“It’s really challenging, the offseason,” Harbaugh told reporters at the NFL meetings in Boca Raton, Fla. “I hope that the league and the union can take this tragic event and kind of find common ground for the younger players in this league. Three months is a long time to be away. I think for some of the guys especially - the guys who need it the most, who don’t come from a great situation at home. What’s their anchor? Where do they go to anchor themselves? Well, they have nowhere to go right now for three months, so they go home, they go back to where they have worked so hard to pull themselves out of.

“Tray’s No. 1 goal was to find his mom a good apartment. He told me that in our pre-draft meetings. He told me that after he got drafted. And he told me when he did it, got it done for her. It’s not an environment that he was really necessarily wanting to be in, but where else do you go?  That’s where your friends are at, that’s where your relationships are.

“It would really be good to be able to have the two or three-year guys, that choose to, stay in the city where their team is at. We’re their anchor in a lot of ways. We’re their family. They have a place they can go to work every single day. They can train without having to pay for it. It just makes a lot of sense.”

Meanwhile, the Ravens are still trying to cope with Walker’s death. A viewing has been scheduled for Friday night in Miami, followed by his funeral on Saturday. Ravens owner Steve Bisciotti was planning to arrange a charger flight from Baltimore to Miami for members of the organization.

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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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