Ravens rookies have already reported, and training camp starts next week. Here are three players that didn’t start last year who I think could have breakout seasons:
Jeremy Butler, WR
Butler was probably the team’s best player during offseason workouts. Joe Flacco said Butler, “Might have had 1,500 yards in a three-day minicamp.” The competition at wide receiver is very crowded, so Butler must continue to impress the coaching staff during training camp to earn playing time. But Butler showed promise last year as an undrafted rookie, catching six passes for 50 yards during the preseason. A shoulder injury sent Butler to the injured list last year. If he stays healthy, Butler could force his way into the wide receiver rotation.
Timmy Jernigan, DT
The reasons for Jernigan’s potential breakout are obvious. Haloti Ngata has departed to the Lions, and Jernigan is a playmaker with enormous talent. Jernigan’s quickness gives him the ability to make plays in the opponent’s backfield, pressuring quarterbacks and dropping running backs for losses. But can Jernigan be just as effective getting more reps, or will his stamina and body wear down as he is asked to do more? We’re about to find out.
Brent Urban, DE
Urban is huge (6-foot-7, 295 pounds), and he’s hungry after missing all of last season with a knee injury. Urban’s size and athleticism will push veteran Chris Canty for a starting role. During minicamp, coach John Harbaugh had to scold Urban for getting too close to Flacco a few times. But once the season starts, if Urban gets close to Peyton Manning or Ben Roethlisberger, Harbaugh won’t mind.
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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.”
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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