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Titans hope Mariota takes after Flacco

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Titans hope Mariota takes after Flacco

If Marcus Mariota wants guidance on how to handle being a rookie quarterback, he should talk to Joe Flacco.

In 2008, Flacco walked into his first Ravens training camp, won the starting job as a rookie, helped the Ravens make the playoffs, and has started every game for the franchise since. The Titans hope they will be as fortunate with Mariota, the No. 2 pick in this year’s draft.

Mariota will be in camp next week, after finally agreeing to contact terms Tuesday

Just like Flacco, Mariota will be expected to be the franchise quarterback for the next decade. Can he handle the pressure? Flacco has, and he has done it with a low-key personality that seems similar to Mariota’s.

Flacco was no lock to win the starting job as a rookie.  But after Troy Smith suffered a serious tonsil infection, and Kyle Boller suffered a season-ending shoulder injury, Flacco was thrust into the job. He has owned it, with 10 career playoff victories, and leading the Ravens to victory in Super Bowl XLVII.

Flacco attempted a career-low 257 passes in 2008, as the Ravens were more conservative with him as a rookie. But he completed 60 percent of his throws, only threw 12 picks, and showed the poise that has become one of his trademarks.

Mariota will arrive at his first training camp surrounded by far more hype than Flacco dealt with. Throughout his career, the background noise has never fazed Flacco. The Titans will hope Mariota reacts the same way.

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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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