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Rookie Upshaw keeps improving throughout season

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Rookie Upshaw keeps improving throughout season

Rookie linebacker Courtney Upshaw ran into problems in the early weeks of his first NFL season.

First, there were the conditioning issues. He came into camp a little heavy, didn't pass the conditioning test the first time and had trouble keeping his weight down the first few weeks. But then he began putting everything together. 

And now, in a season where the Ravens are needing help from a bunch of different players on defense, Upshaw has stepped up. He's really helped as the defense has fared better in the last few weeks, helping the Ravens win all three games since the bye week.

The Ravens expected a lot from Upshaw, who came to them from Alabama. He had to start at first due to the injury to Terrell Suggs. But Suggs came back for the Houston game, and Upshaw then began coming off the bench and seemed to play better. 

He's made 10 tackles and had an interception in the last three weeks as the Ravens improved to 8-2 and took a two-game lead over the Steelers in the AFC North. However, the Ravens have been using Upshaw in different ways and putting him in different spots. He had a good game in the 55-20 rout of Oakland and the 13-10 win over the Steelers.

"Here’s our top pick – our defensive player that we picked as our first pick – and he’s played a number of different positions," coach John Harbaugh said to the media the day after the Oakland game. "Obviously, he’s been getting better every single week. He’s a smart football player. He’s a physical football player."

The return of Suggs probably helps all of that. The Ravens can move Upshaw around if they want. They even put him in as a lineman, but his quickness and strength give the Ravens a lot of options, something they probably were hoping for when they drafted him

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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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