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Tucker confronts toughest conditions yet

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Tucker confronts toughest conditions yet

Coming out of the bye week, there aren't too many things the Ravens have been doing right even though they're 5-2.

But keeping rookie kicker Justin Tucker, 22, over veteran Billy Cundiff, who was released towards the end of the preseason, was a wise one.

Tucker has converted 14 of 15 field goals. More impressively, he's 4-for-4 from 50 yards or more with his longest coming from 56. Cundiff was acquired by the Washington Redskins but soon released and is out of the NFL.

Sunday, Tucker faces perhaps his toughest challenge of the season: Kicking outdoors at Cleveland Browns Stadium on a frigid day and possible swirling winds from the shore of Lake Erie.

"It only changes minor things, aiming points, maybe a shoe i'll wear if the ground is wet or soft," Tucker said. "But weather, field conditions, they have a little bit of an influence with what we do but as long as we stick to our technique and what we've practiced we'll give ourselves the best chance to be successful."

Tucker went back to his hometown of Austin, Texas, during the bye week and visited his college coach Mack Brown and the Longhorns.

"I got to watch what they do one afternoon. That was fun getting to see him … and all those guys there and get to reconnect real briefly," Tucker said. "I definitely miss the people. I miss my teammates. I miss my friends."

But playing with the Ravens isn't too shabby either. Inside a locker room jumping with chatter, music and a movie blaring over the speakers and a flat screen TV at Terrell Suggs' locker, Tucker basked in the chaos.

"How can you not be pumped up every day to come into this work environment?" he said rhetorically. "This is a great place."

Tucker isn't putting too much thought into his kicking duties. He trusts long-snapper Morgan Cox and holder Sam Koch.

"As long as Morgan and Sam and myself are all on the same page and we stick to what we know, stick to what we do best, we'll give ourselves a chance to be successful," Tucker said. "If we can make a kick more down the middle, that's what we're aiming for every week."

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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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