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Darren Waller looking for more after first career TD in Ravens win

Darren Waller looking for more after first career TD in Ravens win

It took more than a year and half, a position change and a humbling suspension, but Darren Waller has finally made his first NFL touchdown catch.

And the second-year tight end hopes there will be more in the future as he grows more familiar with his new position.

Waller caught a 4-yard touchdown pass from Joe Flacco that gave the Ravens the lead for good in their 28-7 win over the Cleveland Browns on Thursday night and finished with two catches for 14 yards.

"It was great," Waller said of his first career touchdown. "Seeing everybody else happy for me for the most part was really what made it a good moment."

Waller was drafted as a wide receiver by the Ravens in the sixth round last year and saw limited duty in six games before landing on injured reserve with a hamstring injury. Then in the offseason, the Ravens approached the 6-6, 255-pound Waller about making the switch to tight end.

The Ravens were overhauling their receiving corps and it didn't seem there would be room for Waller.

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Then again, with Crockett Gillmore, Maxx Williams and Nick Boyle all returning, plus the offseason signing of Ben Watson, plus the potential return of Dennis Pitta, there was no guarantee there would be a tight end spot for Waller, either.

His status became further clouded when he was slapped with a four-game suspension for violating the league's substance-abuse policy, an event he called "humbling" when he returned to action in October.

By then, injuries had opened the door for Waller. Watson went down with a torn Achilles early in the preseason. Williams went to injured reserve with a knee injury and Gillmore has missed the past two games with a thigh injury. Plus Boyle is still serving a 10-game suspension.

In the past two games, Waller and Pitta have been the only tight ends in uniform. That has given Waller the chance to get involved in the offense. He played a season-high 29 offensive snaps against the Browns.

"I'm starting to feel comfortable now, still not entirely there, because there's still a lot of foreign stuff," Waller said. "But I feel like I'm getting better at it, working every day, diving into it, even when I'm not in the building, even before I come in the building, after I leave the building.

"I'm trying to make sure there's no dropoff at the position," he added.

"The team deserves every position to be playing at a high level."

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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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