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Before Ravens, there was 'Cleveland 95'

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Before Ravens, there was 'Cleveland 95'

A recent episodeof NFL Network's acclaimed series "A Football Life" gave viewers acompelling look at the life of Ray Lewis.This week, theseries tackles another subject of interest to Ravens fans: The fall of theoriginal Cleveland Browns franchise. "Cleveland '95: A Football Life"looks at the Browns final season in Cleveland before ArtModell moved the franchise to Baltimore. Produced by NFLFilms and narrated by Baltimore native Josh Charles, "Cleveland '95"includes rarely-seen footage of young Browns head coach Bill Belichick, who hadassembled a formidable staff that included Nick Saban, Eric Mangini, andcurrent Lions coach Jim Schwartz, as well as a young, unproven personnelassistant named Ozzie Newsome.In fact, Pro FootballTalk's Mike Florio says "Cleveland '95" is as much about Belichick asit is about Cleveland. Still, there's alot to appeal to Ravens fans, especially the parts featuring Newsome. Newsome recountshow Belichick wanted Newsome, a Hall of Fame tight end for the Browns, to keepplaying when Belichick took the Browns job in 1991. Newsome, then 35, hadalready decided to hang up his cleats. Instead, he got his feet wet in theBrowns front office."Bill had meon the field coaching, I was on the road scouting, I was doing advance(scouting)," Newsome recalls in one scene. "They took this littlebirdie and they kicked him out of the nest right away.""Cleveland'95" also captures all the angst and frustration atthe Browns final home game in December 2005. Fans literally began tearingCleveland Stadium apart, piece by piece, at times hurling pieces to the field. One subtext ofthe show is that the Belichick braintrust had the Browns on the cusp of the Super Bowl. They had finished 11-5 the year before, and were a trendypreseason pick to win the AFC. Instead, the season unraveled after news brokein November that the team would be moving to Baltimore. Six straight lossesfollowed, and the Browns finished 5-11.I felt bad for that team, the players and thecoaches that were working so hard with less than no support. The owner wasnowhere to be found; he was in Baltimore. It kind of felt like you were on adeserted island fending for yourself," Belichick says at one point.Others withRavens ties featured in "Cleveland '95" include current Ravens seniorvice president Kevin Byrne -- one of many former Browns staffers who made themove to Baltimore -- and longtime BrownsRavens kicker Matt Stover."A FootballLife: Cleveland '95" debuts Wednesday at 8 p.m. on the NFL Network. For a teaser,click here.

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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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