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Is quietly confident Flacco headed for best season?

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Is quietly confident Flacco headed for best season?

OWINGS MILLS - Is the best of Joe Flacco yet to come? He has already been a Super Bowl MVP. He has already won 10 playoff games, and he has been to the postseason six of his seven years in the NFL.

Yet at age 30, Flacco is carrying a quiet sense of confidence around Ravens training camp that suggests he could be headed for his best season. He seems comfortable with everything, and looks sharp at every practice. He seems unfazed by having his fourth offensive coordinator in four seasons, Marc Trestman. Watching rookie wide receiver Breshad Perriman (knee injury) miss six straight practices hasn’t bothered Flacco either.

Flacco has been in so many big games, and seen so many different situations, that he feels the 2015 season won’t bring much he can’t handle. He’s hitting what should be his prime years, and seems energized by it.

“It’s funny – but I feel like I’m starting to finally mature,” said Flacco following Thursday’s practice. “I think there is definitely a physical peak for people, and it’s probably a little bit later than most people would believe. 

“Mentally, I think there’s no reason that you can’t get better, and better, and better. And at my position, that’s a lot of it.”

Flacco set career highs for touchdown passes (27) and passing yards (3,986) last season. A 30-touchdown, 4,000-yard season would not appear out of Flacco’s reach, not with the confidence Trestman has expressed in Flacco.

“I’ve always viewed (Flacco) as a great player,” Trestman said. “I still think every good and great player has he desire to push themselves, and I think Joe is one of those guys.”

Flacco’s starting offensive line returns intact, so he should have the time he needs to make plays, plus a strong running attack led by Justin Forsett, coming off his career-best season (1,266 yards).

Asked if he was still getting better, Flacco smiled slightly and said, “Yes, I sure hope so. I feel that way.”

If Flacco is even better, so are the Ravens’ chances of returning to the playoffs.

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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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