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Watson excited to play with 'elite' Flacco

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Watson excited to play with 'elite' Flacco

OWINGS MILLS -- Veteran tight end Ben Watson has played with Tom Brady. He's played with Drew Brees. Now he's excited to work with another elite -- yes, he used that word -- quarterback: The Ravens' Joe Flacco.

"Having watched him and obviously winning a Super Bowl, he is definitely one of the elite quarterbacks," Watson said on Thursday at his introductory news conference the day after signing a two-year deal with the Ravens  worth a reported $8 million. "I can tell my grandkids I played with Drew Brees and Tom Brady, and Flacco definitely will be added to that list."

"In order to win in this league," Watson continued, "you have to have a quarterback who can make all the throws, who makes great decisions, somebody who gets you out of bad situations and that just gives you a chance to even win."

Watson said the stability of the Ravens organization -- from ownership to the general manger to the coach and the quarterback -- was part of the appeal that drew him to sign with the Ravens. Flacco recently signed a contract extension through 2021.

Watson, 35, is coming off a career year with 74 catches for 825 yards and six touchdowns in his third season with the Saints.  He also spent six years with the Patriots and three with the Browns. He needs 37 receiving yards to reach 5,000 in his career, and he figures to be a popular target for Flacco.

"We're a tight end-friendly offense," general manager Ozzie Newsome said. "Joe likes having tight ends that he can count on."

“Our coaching staff was convinced this was the perfect fit for what we want to do offensively,” coach John Harbaugh said. “We’re a balanced offense. He’s a run blocker, he’s very productive in the pass game, he can run all the routes, he makes plays in tight areas, he makes third-down conversions.”

RELATED: Ozzie: Ravens quickly targeted TE Watson

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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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