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Za'Darius Smith serious about sacks, diabetes research

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Za'Darius Smith serious about sacks, diabetes research

Ravens second-year linebacker Za’Darius Smith has a great comeback for coach John Harbaugh, who says he needs 10 sacks from Smith next season.

“I’ve told him, ‘Coach, when I get 10 sacks the first half of the year, what am I going to do the rest of the year?’’’ Smith said during a telephone interview.

Smith loves to laugh, but he was serious talking about his visit to Capitol Hill on Thursday. Smith joined about 30 NFL players who visited Congress for the “Team Tackle” initiative, to draw attention to diabetes research and treatment. Smith’s mother, Sharon, was diagnosed with diabetes several years ago, and the Ravens’ second-year linebacker is committed to helping those dealing with the disease.

“When my mom got diagnosed with diabetes, I was in college and really didn’t get a chance to help her with everything she needed, “Smith said. “My agent called me and told me about this program, and I was all the way with it. I wanted to help. The cause means a lot to me and my family. I’ve taken life more seriously and my health more seriously.”

Those interested in more information on diabetes can visit diabetes.org on the web.

As for football, Smith said he was in great shape, committed to building on his strong play at the end of last season. Smith had 3 ½ of his 5 ½ sacks over the final three games.

Smith knows the Ravens may draft a pass rusher, but he plans on taking his game to another level next season. He envisions himself, a healthy Terrell Suggs, and Elvis Dumervil leading a disruptive pass rush.

“I think we’re going to be good this year,” said Smith. “I’ve already been up in Baltimore for a month. I can’t wait to get started. Coach and Ozzie (Newsome) are going to do a good job bringing in guys for the defense. How I finished the season is how I’m going to start.”

Sounds like Smith plans to give Harbaugh those 10 sacks he is looking for.

MORE RAVENS: Will Ravens get defensive in this draft?

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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.

MORE RAVENS: 2018 NFL MOCK DRAFT RAVENS ROUNDUP 3.0

“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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