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Ravens' Brandon Williams earning national respect

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Ravens' Brandon Williams earning national respect

There has been plenty of talk about Timmy Jernigan playing a more prominent role on the Ravens’ defense next season after Haloti Ngata’s trade to the Lions. However, the Ravens have another defensive lineman with Pro Bowl potential -- nose tackle Brandon Williams.

After playing well as a starter in 2014, in only his second NFL season, Williams is getting his respect around the league. Case in point. NFL.com’s Bucky Brooks lists Williams as the league’s fifth-best run stopper. His top four in order are Ndamukong Suh of the Dolphins, Marcell Dareus of the Bills, Aaron Donald of the Rams and Damon Harrison of the Jets.

Williams may be the strongest player on the Ravens. Because of his power, low center of gravity, size (6-foot-1, 335 pounds) and athleticism, Williams is often double-teamed by the opposition. That allows inside linebackers C. J. Mosley and Daryl Smith to make more plays, and helps the Ravens be one of the NFL’s most difficult teams to run against.

There is every reason to believe Williams will continue to improve at age 26. Looking back the Ravens’ 2013 draft, safety Matt Elam (first round) and linebacker Arthur Brown (second round) have been disappointments so far. But Williams (third round) has been a gem. 

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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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