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LB Upshaw agrees to terms with Falcons

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LB Upshaw agrees to terms with Falcons

The Ravens lost another of their free agents on Friday as outside linebacker Courtney Upshaw agreed to terms with the Atlanta Falcons, the team confirmed. Terms were not disclosed, but ESPN reported that it is a one-year deal.

Upshaw spent four seasons with the Ravens after the team made him their first pick in the 2012 draft, taken in the second round at No. 35 overall.

Known primarily as a physical, edge-setter against the run, Upshaw never missed a game in four years with the Ravens, making 51 starts. This past season he totaled 51 tackles and two sacks.

Upshaw, though, never evolved into the pass rushing force on the outside, totaling five sacks in four seasons. That became an issue this year after the Ravens lost Terrell Suggs in the season opener and struggled the rest of the year to compensate for the loss of Suggs' pass-rushing ability.

Upshaw had also visited the New York Jets as a free agent, and the longer Upshaw remained on the free agent market, the more likely his return to Baltimore looked. But re-signing the Alabama product was not a priority.

When asked at the NFL Combine about the possible return of Upshaw, general manager Ozzie Newsome said, “History will say we’ll get some signed and some will go to other clubs. When that happens, I wish them well.”

The Ravens are expected to return a healthy Suggs and Elvis Dumervil as their top pass rushers, but the loss of Upshaw does leave a void particularly on run defense. The Ravens do return second-year linebacker Za'Darius Smith and are expected to make outside linebacker a priority in the upcoming draft.

In four seasons, Upshaw totaled 183 tackles, five sacks, seven passes defensed and five fumble recoveries for the Ravens.

Offensive guard Kelechi Osemele, kicker Justin Tucker and Upshaw were considered the Ravens top players eligible to hit free agency. The Ravens lost Osemele to the Raiders, and Tucker received the franchise tag.

 

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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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