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Linebacker retires as one of most respected Ravens

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Linebacker retires as one of most respected Ravens

OWINGS MILLS – As he officially announced his retirement Wednesday, former Ravens linebacker Jarret Johnson received praise from many directions.

General manager Ozzie Newsome hailed Johnson for his leadership during his nine seasons with the Ravens.

“He was a tempo-setter,” Newsome said. “He set the tempo in our locker room. He set the tempo in the classroom. He set the tempo out on the practice field. And he definitely set the tempo on Sundays when we played games.” 

Ravens coach John Harbaugh said Johnson epitomized the term, “Play like a Raven.”

“Extremely talented, very smart,” Harbaugh said. “He was the guy who made all our calls and set the defense.”

Defensive coordinator Dean Pees talked about his close friendship with Johnson. Pees said every Ravens coach had the utmost respect for Johnson. During his playing days, Johnson drew a huge circle on a grease board in the defensive meeting room.

“That’s called the circle of trust,” Pees said. “That’s double-J’s circle. When your initials went in there, you were proud as heck. That means that guy respected you. I remember walking in there a long time ago saying, I got to get D.P. in there.” 

The only two-time captain in Alabama history, Johnson entered the NFL with a chip on his shoulder, after falling to the fourth round in 2003, where the Ravens finally selected him.

“I thought I was a better player than that,” Johnson said.

He was right. In his nine seasons with the Ravens, Johnson played in a team record 129 straight games, including 80 consecutive starts. Other defensive players like Ray Lewis, Ed Reed, and Terrell Suggs grabbed more headlines during Johnson’s time with the Ravens. But nobody within the organization underestimated Johnson’s importance.

Johnson played his final three seasons with the Chargers, but decided to retire after last season. He will eventually sign a one-day deal with the Ravens so he can retire with the organization. What’s next for Johnson? He is enjoying spending time with his family, but did not rule out working for the Ravens in some capacity.

“I’d love to have some role in this game,” Johnson said. “I’d love to have a connection with this organization and with this game, because I love it. We’ll see.”

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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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