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Old Ravens nemesis Palmer still going strong

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Old Ravens nemesis Palmer still going strong

It's been a long, sometimes strange trip since his last visit to Baltimore, but quarterback Carson Palmer returns Sunday with the Raiders as someone who has been a considerable thorn in the side of the Ravens for the better part of the past decade.

A year removed from a nasty divorce from Cincinnati that ended with a midseason trade to the Raiders, Palmer went 9-4 against the Ravens while quarterback of the Bengals from 2004-10.

But his time with the Bengals ended in a mess, with Palmer refusing to play in 2011 and demanding a trade. The Bengals at first refused, relegating their former star quarterback to a spectator as rookie Andy Dalton took over. But the Bengals then agreed to move Palmer when the Raiders offered a deal the Bengals couldn't pass up: a first-round draft pick as well a conditional second-round pick in 2013 that becomes a first-rounder if the Raiders reach the AFC title game.

Given that hefty price tag, the Raiders were hoping Palmer could elevate them to the playoffs. That didn't happen last year, as Palmer went 4-5 as the Raiders starter after the October trade. It didn't help that top running back Darren McFadden missed the last half of the season with a foot injury.

McFadden, who has a sprained ankle, has been ruled out for Sunday's game as well, but the Ravens have seen enough of Palmer over the years to know he can still be a problem.

"He is one of those underrated quarterbacks that can make every throw, especially if he gets in a groove," said Terrell Suggs, who has faced Palmer since the two were Pac-10 rivals in college, Suggs at Arizona State and Palmer at USC.  " You all saw it when he was in Cincinnati. I remember, vividly, games I thought we had won, and Carson Palmer got in his groove, and he torched us."

One such game came late in 2004, Palmer's first season as a starter. The Ravens took a 20-3 lead into the fourth quarter, but Palmer threw three  touchdown passes in the final 15 minutes and the Bengals stunned the Ravens in Baltimore, 27-26.

That was eight years ago, but the 6-foot-5 Palmer, now 32, can still chuck the ball around, as he showed last week in the Raiders' 42-32 loss to Tampa Bay. When the Bucs' Doug Martin wasn't running wild, Palmer was throwing a career-high 61 times, completing 39, for 414 yards.

"When I first thought about it this week when I started looking at them, I thought ‘OK, I will probably see a quarterback that has probably diminished a little bit.’ " Ravens defensive coordinator Dean Pees said. "I don’t see it. I don’t see it. I saw a guy throw a 15-yard comeback from the opposite hash, which he has done before. He stands in the pocket. He stands tall. He delivers the ball. I don’t see a lot of difference in Carson Palmer now than when we used to play him.”

Cornerback Cary Williams said the key to countering Palmer -- and speedy receivers Darrius Heyward-Bey (Maryland) and Denarius Moore -- is to get physical.

"You try to get your hands on 'em, focus on disrupting the timing between (Palmer) and the wide receivers, try to get after these guys physically," Williams said. "Make it a physical game. ... That's the way we play defense."

Palmer, Williams added, "has the ability to throw the long ball, he can throw with accuracy and he can make split-second decisions and hurt you. He's been doing it for years."

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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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