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Why Tucker is 'optimistic' deal will get done with Ravens

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Why Tucker is 'optimistic' deal will get done with Ravens

Ravens kicker Justin Tucker is set to become a free agent in March, but he said on Monday that his agent and the Ravens have been working "on and off" on a new deal for months. 

Tucker has said more than once that he hopes to remain with the Ravens, and as players cleaned out their lockers on Monday, he said, "I’m optimistic that everything will get sorted out when it’s supposed to get sorted out."

Tucker is one of the Ravens highest-profile free agents, along with offensive lineman Kelechi Osemele and linebacker Courtney Upshaw. Tucker earned $2.356 million this year after the Ravens assigned him a second-round tender as a restricted free agent, and he figures to get a sizable bump from that salary.

For comparison's sake -- and surely this has come up in discussions -- Stephen Gostkowski last summer signed a four-year, $17.2 million deal with the Patriots, with about $10 million guaranteed. The Patriots had initially applied the franchise tag to Gostkowski before working out his long-term deal, and the Ravens might go that route as well.

The tag for kickers is expected to be about $4.5 million, and the Ravens could tag Tucker in February and then work until July 15 to sign him to a long-term deal. After that date, any player who is tagged must play under the one-year tag.

Tucker said his agent and the Ravens "have been talking on and off for the better part of a year, year-and-a-half. At this juncture, I’m kind of letting it all just unfold how it’s going to unfold, and I’m optimistic that something will get done."

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For now, Tucker said, he's focused on his family; his wife, Amanda, is pregnant with the couple's first child.

Tucker struggled from long-distance this year but remains one of the most dependable kickers in the league. He finished 33-for-40 on field-goal attempts, including the game-winning kick on the final play in three of the Ravens' five wins.

 He ranks second in NFL history in field-goal accuracy (minimum 100 attempts) at 87.8 percent (130-for-148), but his seven misses this year represented a career-high, and he was just four-for-10 from 50 yards or farther this year. Tucker was one of the few kickers who didn't struggle with the longer extra-point kicks; he was 29-for-29 and has made all 139 PAT kicks in his career. In addition, Tucker ranked fourth in the league with 63 touchbacks.

He also remains one of the more popular Ravens off the field; he often invites fans to help retrieve balls at offseason kicking workouts at Patterson Park, and he put his considerable opera skills on display as a guest soloist at a recent holiday concert. 

"I know I’m going to end up wherever, God-willing, I’m supposed to end up," Tucker said on Monday, "but the only thing I can take care of is my own personal business, and that’s making myself the best kicker possible.”

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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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