Terrell Suggs, Steve Smith Sr., Chris Canty, Justin Forsett, Daryl Smith and Marshal Yanda were nowhere to be found at the Ravens practice on Sunday. John Harbaugh apparently gave these players a veterans day off, and there's no doubt they appreciate sitting out a Sunday afternoon practice in pads early in training camp.
Granted, the team had only practiced three times before Sunday, so it's not as if it's been a long, grueling grind at this point. But hey, the veterans will take it, and with those guys resting up, several other players took on larger roles. Here are a few of the players who stepped up on Sunday:
- With Steve Smith Sr. out -- and with Breshad Perriman (knee) still sidelined -- Kamar Aiken stood out as the top receiver. He caught a quick slant against Lardarius Webb and split the defense for a long touchdown. Yes, it's only early August, but Aiken, who made back-to-back tough catches on Saturday, is playing with a lot of confidence right now. Watching him lately, it's hard to believe he went three full seasons in the NFL without making a catch.
- With Justin Forsett out, the Ravens got a long look at Lorenzo Taliaferro and Buck Allen at running back, and they have to like what they see. Allen in particular had a good practice, showing decisiveness as a runner and good hands as a receiver. He also had a nice blitz pickup.
- With Canty out, second-year defensive end Brent Urban had his number called a lot and proved to be a handful for a Ravens offensive line that was down three starters (Rick Wagner was present at practice but sat out full-team drills). It will be hard for the 6-foot-7 Urban to sneak up on anyone, but he could be a factor this season.
- On the other side of the ball, rookie guard Robert Myers spelled Osemele, and he had a lot of trouble dealing with Urban, Timmy Jernigan and the rest of the Ravens front seven. But those reps are important for Myers, and giving Osemele the day off should prove beneficial for both guards.
Indeed, "veterans day" has a lot of benefit for younger players, too.
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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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