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Training camp "What to Watch", August 15

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Training camp "What to Watch", August 15

OWINGS MILLS – The Ravens changed the start time of Saturday’s practice to 1 p.m. It had originally been scheduled for 8:30 a.m. Fans holding passes for Saturday’s practice can still use them. Parking lots open at noon.

Here’s the buzz heading into practice:

1. The wide receiver battle:

Michael Campanaro (two catches, 58 yards, one touchdown) was the best receiver on the field during Thursday night’s preseason opener. As long as he stays healthy, I expect Campanaro to make the 53-man roster at receiver, along with Steve Smith, Marlon Brown, Breshad Perriman, and Kamar Aiken. That leaves either one or two wide receiver spots open.

Those on the bubble who made catches Thursday night were DeAndre Carter (two receptions, 33 yards), Jeremy Butler (one reception, 14 yards), Darren Waller (one reception, 12 yards), and long shot Tom Nelson (one reception, 19 yards). However, none of them sparkled.

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So it’s back to the practice field, where those competing for jobs and playing time will look to shine, leading up to the Aug. 22 preseason game against the Eagles. Meanwhile, we’ll see if Perriman (knee injury) can return after missing 10 straight practices.

2. The injuries

Backup tight end Allen Reisner suffered a broken ankle Thursday that required surgery, but the Ravens did not update two players who left the game with injuries – cornerback Asa Jackson and outside linebacker Steven Means. There should be an update on both at some point Saturday.

3. Rookie outside linebacker Za’Darius Smith

Smith had the Ravens’ only sack Thursday, with Elvis Dumervil and Terrell Suggs both playing briefly. The Ravens lost linebacker Pernell McPhee, who had 7½ sacks last season, to the Bears during free agency. It remains to be seen if the Ravens can get enough pressure on quarterbacks, and where that pressure will come from. Smith, a fourth-rounder, could emerge as one of the team’s most important picks if he continues to improve.

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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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