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A starter course ...

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A starter course ...

Ravens coach JohnHarbaugh suggested on Tuesday that, as is his standard operating procedure forWeek 3 of the preseason, starters would likely work into the second half against Jacksonville on Thursday night inwhat will be their most extensive action of the preseason.This begs aquestion: Who exactly are the starters?
Sure, manystarting spots are nailed down. It's safe to say that quarterback, free safety, inside linebacker are pretty well set. But coming into camp, several positions were up for grabs. The past month has solidified some starting jobs and cloudedothers.Here's an updateon some of the key battles:
Left guard:Bobbie Williams vs. Jah Reid vs. Kelechi OsemeleWilliams is thepresumed starter, but the 12-year veteran has been bothered at times byswelling in his surgically repaired ankle. Reid was also considered an internalcandidate to fill the void left by the free agency departure of Ben Grubbs, butReid has been slowed much of training camp by a calf injury. Osemele, who has also gotten work at tackle, could bethe starter Thursday night, but look for Williams to be there in Week 1.
Cornerback: CaryWilliams vs. Jimmy SmithThis wasconsidered one of the top battles of camp, and it's fair to say it's stillundecided. Neither has seized the job, and both have struggled against elite receivers in the first two preseason games. For now it appears the job still belongsto Williams, who started every game last season. Smith, slowed last year by an ankle injury, has been bothered attimes by a back injury this summer. Both have been picked on by opposingquarterbacks, which is likely to continuewith Lardarius Webb on the other side.Nose tackle:Terence Cody vs. Ma'ake KemoeatuThis wasn'tprojected to be a battle, but Kemoeatu continues to have a strong camp andHarbaugh implied that he could be the starter. Cody started every game lastseason and is still the likely starter, but the depth at this position hasgotten much stronger with Kemoeatu's play.Outsidelinebacker: Courtney Upshaw vs. Albert McClellanThe prevailingwisdom was that after Terrell Suggs went down with his Achilles injury, Upshaw,the Ravens' first draft pick this past April, would slide in and take over. ButUpshaw missed time with a shoulder injury, and McClellan has continued toimpress. The former practice squad player, who started one game last season, hasstarted both preseason games and seems to have a slight edge over Upshaw fornow, though the Ravens' depth chart continues to list Upshaw on the top line.Kicker: BillyCundiff vs. Justin TuckerOh boy. This isgoing to be one tough call for the Ravens front office. Cundiff has been verygood in camp, which is probably enough to retain his job. But Tucker, the rookiebrought in ostensibly to push Cundiff, has done that and more. He has been themore accurate kicker, and has shown consistency from beyond 50 yards -- a major weakness of Cundiff's the past few years. Tucker evenhit a 63-yarder at the M&T Bank Stadium practice. The Ravens are not likely to keep both. If they cut Cundiff, theRavens part ways with a player they like and very publicly supported after hismiss in the AFC Championship Game. If they cut Tucker, they won't get him back.He will be kicking somewhere in the NFL this year. If Tucker has shown anythingthis camp, it's that there aren't 31 better kickers out there. We'll know forsure by next Friday, Aug. 31, when the Ravens have to get down to their 53-manroster.

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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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