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Spotlight on: Anquan Boldin

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Spotlight on: Anquan Boldin

In his second year with the Ravens in 2011, Anquan Boldin caught fewer passes than in any season since 2004. He also had his lowest touchdown total since 2004.

True, he sat out the last two games of the regular season after undergoing surgery to repair a slight meniscus tear in his knee, which probably impacted his performance in the preceding weeks.

And his yards-per-catch average of 15.6 was a career high.

But his overall stats, his current age (31) and the fact that rookie Torrey Smith supplanted him as the Ravens' big-play receiver in 2011 has some observers wondering about the arc of Boldin's career.

Pete Prisco of CBSSports.com didnt mince words in naming him the Ravens most overrated player entering 2012: He could retire this spot since he earns it every year. Boldin just doesn't scare down the field, yet on Sundays all you hear are network analysts slobbering over the guy.

Despite such pointed criticism, the Ravens are happy with Boldin, the leader of their receiving corps. He caught 10 passes for 174 yards in their two postseason games in 2011, and theyre envisioning another solid season from him in 2012, especially now that his knee is healthy.

Between Smith and their new No. 3 receiver, Jacoby Jones, the Ravens have the speed at wideout to stretch opposing defenses more than ever before, theoretically opening seams for Boldin.

Some fans and league observers have expressed disappointment that Boldin hasnt emerged as the Pro Bowl-caliber No. 1 receiver some envisioned when he joined the Ravens in a trade before the 2010 season. At times last year he did seemingly struggle to gain separation from defenders.

But with 121 catches and 10 touchdowns in 30 games in Baltimore, he hasnt exactly disappeared. And while he did have his share of quiet games in 2011, he finished strong and looked sharp at the teams minicamp last month, sounding hungry to play another year at a high level.

For me, I come in every year with something different to work on, he said. I think you are never at a point in your career where you get satisfied with what you are doing, with where youre at. For me, like I said, I continue to work on things day-in and day-out. I look at a lot of film; I watch myself on film, and if there are things I dont like, a certain way I am coming out of a route or things like that, thats definitely something I take into account and work on during the offseason.

The Ravens are counting on more of the same from Boldin, and maybe a tad extra, in 2012.

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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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