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Tucker: Singing 'way more nerve-racking' than kicking

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Tucker: Singing 'way more nerve-racking' than kicking

Ravens kicker Justin Tucker has hit a lot of high-pressure field goals for the Ravens. In fact, he's hit 10 game-winning kicks in his career, including three this season.

But singing "Ave Maria" in a packed basilica? Now that makes him nervous.

By now you've probably seen video of the tuxedo-clad Tucker's fabulous rendition of "Ave Maria" at a Catholic Charities benefit Christmas concert on Thursday night at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary in Baltimore.

"It's way more nerve-racking to sing in front of a group of people, because quite frankly that's not really my element," Tucker said after the Ravens practice on Friday. "I mean, kicking a ball in front of tens of thousands of people in the stadium and then I know a bunch more watching on TV, that's totally our comfort zone. That's what I do and what I know so well."

Tucker studied music at the University of Texas, and his opera skills are well documented. He stunned his teammates at the team's rookie talent show in 2012 when he belted out a rendition of "O Sole Mio." And his opera skills have been featured in several commercials, including one currently airing for Royal Farms.

Still, he described the holiday concert as a "surreal experience to perform in front of a group like that, in that space as well at the basilica downtown. It was definitely very, very cool."

"Reviews have been positive, which is good," he said with a chuckle. "It is kind of cool to hear the reaction and see what people have been posting on social media. ... People have been really, really kind."

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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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