Not having Haloti Ngata is a challenge the Ravens are not sugarcoating. The Ravens were fourth in the NFL in run defense last season, yielding just 88.2 yards per game. Ngata played a major role in the Ravens’ run defense for nine seasons, making the Pro Bowl five times as a defensive tackle before being traded to the Lions this offseason.
Veteran defensive end Chris Canty admitted it was strange not seeing Ngata at mandatory minicamp.
“You can’t replace a guy like that – a future Hall of Famer, one of the best to ever do it at that position,” Canty said. “And beyond that, just a good friend. It’s going to be tough having him not be a part of our group, not be a part of our defensive unit, not be a part of our football team, but we have to move on. We understand the nature of the NFL. It’s a great game; sometimes it can be an ugly business. We still love him, and sometimes we miss not having him in our room, but we wish him the best.”
The Ravens are counting on Canty and young defensive linemen like Brandon Williams, Timmy Jernigan, and Brent Urban to collectively replace Ngata’s skills. Canty believes the Ravens are up to the challenge.
“I’m excited about all the young guys who are on (the) defensive line,” Canty said. “Tremendous collection of talent, a lot of guys that can do a lot of different things. I think they complement each other very well.”
But that doesn’t mean Ngata’s former teammates won’t miss him. They already do.
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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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