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His team in need, Boldin is stepping up for Ravens

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His team in need, Boldin is stepping up for Ravens

There were whispers even before the season began that the 2012 Ravens, perhaps for the first time in its history, would be defined by their offense more than by their defense.

Now, with Terrell Suggs, Lardarius Webb and Ray Lewis potentially all standing side-by-side on the sideline in street clothes for the foreseeable future, you can shout it from the highest row of the stadium: This suddenly battered and bruised team will go as far as its offense carries it.

Observers say this is Joe Flacco's offense, or this is Ray Rice's offense. Both of which, to a large degree, are true. But one player who is emerging as a steadying, veteran presence on offense during this potential sea change of a season is receiver Anquan Boldin.

Boldin, who has more NFL experience than Flacco and Rice combined, is on pace for his best season as a Raven. NFL skill positions are a young man's domain, but Boldin, who turned 32 last week, is showing he still belongs.

The 10-year veteran led the Ravens with five catches for 98 yards in their 31-29 win over Dallas -- the third straight game he led the team in receiving -- including a 31-yard grab that set up the Ravens' last touchdown. Ravens receivers have had a lot of trouble this year finding separation against tight press coverage. But on that play, Boldin fought off contact at the line of scrimmage from cornerback Brandon Carr, who stumbled, leaving Boldin wide open down the right sideline.

"There was a lot of physical play outside there on the edge," coach John Harbaugh said afterward. "A lot was going on out there, and I thought our guys did a good job of playing right through it, especially Anquan. He did a great job."

Boldin also led the Ravens with four catches for 82 yards in the 9-6 slog over the Chiefs two weeks ago, and took over the game against Cleveland, with eight catches for 125 yards in the second half alone.

Through six games, Boldin leads the Ravens with 28 catches for 429 yards. That puts him on pace for 74 catches for 1,144 yards, which would be his highest totals in three seasons as a Raven. Last season, he caught 57 passes for a team-high 887 yards.

" "At certain points I'm asked to spark the team and make plays," Boldin told BaltimoreRavens.com after the Cleveland game. "And I'm willing to accept that role."

 

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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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