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Ravens take OL Gradkowski in 4th


Ravens take OL Gradkowski in 4th

At the State of the Ravens press conference in January, GM Ozzie Newsome made one promise about the teams 2012 roster.

We will have another center, he said.

Even though the team eventually re-signed incumbent starting center Matt Birk, Newsomes pledge led to months of speculation about the Ravens possibly drafting Wisconsin center Peter Konz with their top pick. Birk could mentor Konz and pave the way for a generational handoff at the position, the thinking went.

The Ravens didnt end up drafting Konz, but they did possibly address their future at center and make good on Newsomes pledge Saturday when they selected Delawares Gino Gradkowski with their fourth-round pick the 98th overall selection in the draft.

The 6-2, 300-pound Gradkowski the younger brother of NFL quarterback Bruce Gradkowski -- was an All-American who can also play guard, giving them another big body to throw into the mix in 2012 as they try to replace Ben Grubbs.

But he hopes to play center eventually.

I'm elated right now because Baltimore plays football the way it's supposed to be played," Gradkowski said Saturday.

The Ravens selected him with the pick they obtained from Minnesota Thursday night when they moved down six spots from the 29th overall selection to the 35th overall.

Gradkowski had worked out for the Ravens before the draft and seemed to know he was on their radar.

"Baltimore would be a great situation for me, he said an interview last month. To learn behind Matt Birk, it would be awesome to be able to pick his brain.

He didn't play at Delaware with Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco, who also played for the Blue Hens. But if he ends up snapping the ball to Flacco, it would be a Blue Hen-to-Blue Hen snap.

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Fellow dance student of Ravens' Alex Collins fatally shot in Florida school shooting

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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.


“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

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.