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Training camp will be proving ground for Ravens rookie tight end

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Training camp will be proving ground for Ravens rookie tight end

Here’s a player to watch closely when training camp begins next week: rookie tight end Maxx Williams. He was widely considered the best tight end in the draft. But he is the youngest player on the Ravens’ roster at age 21, and he will be one of the NFL’s youngest players next season.

Is Williams ready for the grind of his first training camp and preseason -- ready enough to make an immediate impact by Week 1?  We’re about to find out. With Dennis Pitta’s NFL future still very uncertain following two hip surgeries, it remains to be seen if the Ravens have gotten better or worse at the tight end position.

Joe Flacco has always loved throwing to tight ends, whether it was Pitta, Todd Heap or Owen Daniels. When Daniels signed with the Broncos during free agency, finding a tight end in the draft became a major priority for the Ravens. In fact, they drafted two: Williams (second round) and Nick Boyle (fifth round).

That leaves the training camp battle at tight end wide open. Crockett Gillmore caught 10 passes as a rookie last season and wants a bigger role in the passing game. But Williams was an acrobatic pass catcher in college, and the Ravens liked his skill set enough to trade up in the second round to get him.

During training camp, Williams hopes to convince the coaching staff that he is ready to become one of Flacco’s go-to guys.  Williams left school early because he was confident he was ready for the NFL. The Ravens are eager to find out how ready he is.

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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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