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Money to spare

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Money to spare

The Ravens ranked last in the NFL in available salary cap space until earlier this week, when they signed Ray Rice to a five-year deal that lowered his 2012 cap number by 2.7 million.

Now they reportedly have some 3.3 million of room under the cap, more than a handful of teams.

How will they spend it?

Theres no clear-cut answer as the organizational clock ticks toward the start of training camp next week in Owings Mills. The Ravens depth chart is pretty well stocked with the players theyre expecting to contribute this season. In other words, there is no immediate, glaring need.

Against that backdrop, the 3.3 million is more of a luxury, essentially an emergency fund. If a glaring need develops between now and the start of the season because of an injury or performance issues during camp, the Ravens have the wherewithal to address it.

Theres no telling where such a need could develop, but here are some possibilities:

Backup running back -- When the Ravens invested a 2012 third-round draft pick in Bernard Pierce, they obviously hoped he could step in for Ricky Williams, who rushed for more than 400 yards in 2011. But can a rookie handle the load and produce at the level the Ravens want? If they decide Pierce needs a year of seasoning, their only other options are a seventh-round pick (Anthony Allen) and an undrafted free agent (Damien Berry) from 2011. Meanwhile, Cedric Benson, who rushed for more than a thousand yards for the Bengals in 2011, is just sitting on the open market.

Linebackerpass rush With Terrell Suggs out indefinitely, building and sustaining a quality pass rush is the Ravens biggest issue on defense. Between Suggs and other players no longer on the team, the Ravens are missing almost half of their sacks (23 of 48) from 2011. If they feel they arent going to get enough pressure from those on hand, they could bring in a designated pass rusher to play on third downs.

No. 3 receiver The Ravens hope they addressed this need with the addition of Jacoby Jones, and they have a handful of other possibilities such as LaQuan Williams and Tandon Doss. But Jones dropped a few balls in the spring and the others have done little in their brief pro careers, and the Ravens want dangerous targets for Joe Flacco. Theyve passed on a slew of veterans so far, but who knows?

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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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