The Ravens cut veteran inside linebacker Daryl Smith, saving themselves $2.625 million in cap room for next season. ESPN's Adam Schefter reported the news.
Smith had been a starting linebacker with the Ravens for three seasons, and had two years remaining on his contract. However, Smith struggles at times in pass coverage, and the Ravens clearly need to get younger and faster on defense. Smith turns 34 years old on March 14, and will likely look to land with a playoff contender during free agency.
With Smith gone, 23-year-old linebacker Zach Orr will have a chance to win the starting inside linebacker job opposite C. J. Mosley. The Ravens could also draft a young linebacker, perhaps as early as the first round. Versatile linebacker Myles Jack of UCLA, who excels in pass coverage, is a Ravens possible first-round target with the No. 6 pick.
Smith gave the Ravens some good seasons, with at least 121 tackles each year. He was also a leader on defense, calling defensive signals and mentoring Mosley during his rookie season. However, the Ravens must make difficult financial and personnel decisions, coming off a 5-11 season. Releasing Smith became one of those tough decisions.
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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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