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Sudden injury forces Ravens to look at life beyond Suggs

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Sudden injury forces Ravens to look at life beyond Suggs

The Ravens are suddenly staring at life after Terrell Suggs much more quickly than they expected to. 

Coach John Harbaugh revealed after the game on Sunday that Suggs has been lost for the season with a torn Achilles, a stunning setback suffered in the fourth quarter of the Ravens' 19-13 loss at Denver. 

Suggs, who turns 33 next month, had 12 sacks last season, and he and Elvis Dumervil (17 sacks) combined to form the league's most prolific pass-rushing duo last year with 29 sacks. They were expected to do so again this year, but now one-half of that equation has been abruptly erased.

So who is the next man up? 

The Ravens depth chart lists rookie Za'Darius Smith as Suggs' backup, but Smith was a game-day inactive on Sunday. Are the Ravens ready to elevate him to a starting job? The fourth-round pick had 10 1/2 sacks in two seasons at Kentucky and had one this preseason. 

The most logical replacement for Suggs is Courtney Upshaw,who has been a solid run-stuffing, edge-setting outside linebacker. But he has only three sacks in three seasons with the Ravens. (Although his hammering hit of Ben Roethlisberger last year was waved off by a questionable penalty call.) Can Upshaw consistently beat an offensive tackle to the edge and track down a quarterback, as Suggs has done so well for more than a decade?

Before this season, Upshaw was hardly ever on the field on passing downs, replaced by Dumervil. 

Albert McClellan has some experience playing both inside and outside linebacker with the Ravens, and he might starting getting more reps on the outside. The Ravens also have undrafted rookie Brennen Beyer on the practice squad, and barring the addition of a free agent, perhaps Beyer will be elevated to the active roster. But to be sure, none of them spells Suggs. 

No doubt general manager Ozzie Newsome will also be combing the waiver wire. One intriguing name is Dwight Freeney, the 13-year veteran who had 3 1/2 sacks for San Diego last season and has 111.5 in his career. Freeney is already 35, but might be worth a look as a sub-package, third-down specialist. 

MORE RAVENS: Terrell Suggs out for season after injury vs. Broncos

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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.

MORE RAVENS: 2018 NFL MOCK DRAFT RAVENS ROUNDUP 3.0

“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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