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Ravens moving young receiver to tight end

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Ravens moving young receiver to tight end

Ravens second-year wide receiver Darren Waller is making a move to tight end, adding more intrigue to a position group that has made its more than its share of news this offseason.

On the same day that the Ravens introduced veteran tight end Ben Watson -- who signed a two-year, $8 million deal on the first day of free agency -- general manager Ozzie Newsome said Waller will join Watson at that position.

When the season ended, tight end appeared to be one of the Ravens more stable, deep positions, with three promising young players in Crockett Gillmore, Maxx Williams and Nick Boyle. But since then, Gillmore has had to deal with surgery on both shoulders and Boyle has been suspended for the first 10 games of 2016 because of a second violation of the league's policy on performance-enhancing drugs.

In addition to signing Watson, the Ravens also gave restricted free agent tight end Chase Ford a low-round tender ($1.67 million) despite not playing a down for the Ravens last season.

Add Waller to the mix and the Ravens can nearly field an entire lineup of tight ends. There are nine on the 90-man roster now: Watson, Gillmore, Williams, Boyle (who can take part in offseason activities and training camp while suspended), Ford, Waller, Harold Spears, Konrad Reuland and Dennis Pitta, although Watson's signing is yet another strong suggestion that Pitta's career is probably over. Pitta is expected to be released post-June 1 if he does not retire.

Can Waller emerge from this crowd and make the team?

Waller, a sixth-round pick out of Georgia Tech last year, played in six games last season and made two catches for 18 yards before going on injured reserve in November with a hamstring injury. He also saw a lot of action on special teams.

At 6-foot-6 and 245 pounds, Waller is an attractive target and has more speed than the typical tight end. Waller's 40-yard dash at the NFL Combine (4.46) was faster than any tight ends at the Combine that year. (Maxx Williams ran a 4.78.)

"We just feel like a 250-pound wide receiver who can run like he can has a chance to maybe grow into a tight end," coach John Harbaugh said. "And he has embraced it."

[RELATED: Watson excited to play with 'elite' Flacco]

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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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