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With Rice signed, what's next for the Ravens?

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With Rice signed, what's next for the Ravens?

Now that the Ravens have locked up running back Ray Rice to a five-year deal, what moves to the top of their agenda?

Thats easy. Theyll turn their focus to retaining two of their other core players, quarterback Joe Flacco and safety Ed Reed.

Both players are entering the final year of their contract in 2012, and both have made it plain that they would like new deals, preferably sooner rather than later.

Flacco, 27, has flat-out stated he would like a new deal in place before the 2012 season begins, as opposed to waiting until after the season, when his contract signed as a rookie runs out.

Reed, 33, has not made such a straightforward statement, instead offering a stream of alternately vague and ominous comments about possibly retiring or being cut all of which make it clear that he wants another contract.

The Ravens have made more noise about re-upping with Flacco, who is line for his first major payday, as opposed to Reed, who signed a six-year, 44 million deal in 2006. Even though Reed is one of the franchises all-time greats, destined for the Hall of Fame, it would seem that getting Flacco locked up is the more immediate priority. Franchise quarterbacks are difficult to find, almost impossible to replace, and while Flacco has had his ups and downs, he has won a lot of games and the Ravens believe he is on the verge of becoming an upper-level performer.

But negotiations between the team and Flaccos agent havent been fast-paced, and of course, theres the major issue of determining just how much he is worth. It certainly didn't hurt Flacco's cause when New Orleans quarterback Drew Brees signed a 100 million deal last week, seemingly pushing up the scale for all quarterbacks.

The insertion of a deadline into the Ray Rice situations succeeded in forcing a conclusion, but no such deadline exists in Flaccos situation, at least in the near future. The Ravens could put the franchise tag on Flacco in 2013 now that Rice is locked up, meaning that they know he could wear their uniform for at least another two years without landing a new deal.

Having said that, they want to satisfy their quarterback, would like the deal to get done, and probably will try to do so fairly soon.

Reeds situation is murkier. The Ravens also want to make him happy if anything so he will pipe down but they arent going to pay too much for a player who would be 35 when his new deal begins and has talked about holding out. It remains to be seen how they will handle this increasingly delicate situation.

But one way or another, thats where their attention now turns.

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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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