OWINGS MILLS – The biggest surprise among the Ravens’ tight end group has been Nick Boyle, a fifth-round pick who was viewed more as a blocker than as a pass receiver when drafted. With 11 catches for 93 yards, Boyle has earned more playing time recently and could play a more prominent role during the second half of the season.
Steve Smith’s season-ending Achilles injury could result in quarterback Joe Flacco throwing to tight ends more often. If that’s the case, Boyle is ready. He feels his chemistry with Flacco is building.
“I think he has more confidence in me,” Boyle said. “He thinks I’m a target out there, instead of just a decoy. I just hope it continues to grow. It’s cool to have the trust of your teammates and coaches to want to throw you the ball, and want you to make plays for the offense.”
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Boyle believes scouts underrated his pass-catching ability coming out of the draft.
“People looked at my 40 time,” Boyle said. “I think there’s a difference between how fast you run a straight line when not playing football, then there’s football speed. I think I can play football. I play fast. Some people who run fast can’t play fast. I think I’m more of a football player than a track athlete.”
The Ravens have three young tight ends vying for playing time – starter Crockett Gillmore, second-round pick Maxx Williams, and Boyle. The competition is helping Boyle become a better player.
“We learn from each other,” Boyle said. “Everyone has their own traits, what they’re good at and what they need to get better at. We learn from each other. Our tight end group is really strong, our (tight end) coach (Rich Angulo) is awesome. We’ve just got to keep progressing.”
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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