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Former Raven Anquan Boldin retires from football to focus more on humanitarian work

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Former Raven Anquan Boldin retires from football to focus more on humanitarian work

ORCHARD PARK, New York -- Receiver Anquan Boldin is abruptly giving up on football to pursue his humanitarian and charitable work just under two weeks after signing with the Buffalo Bills.

Boldin released a statement on Sunday night shortly after informing the Bills of his decision.

"Football has afforded me a platform throughout my career to have a greater impact on my humanitarian work," Boldin. "At this time, I feel drawn to make the larger fight for human rights a priority. My life's purpose is bigger than football."

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He added that football brings together people of different races and religions to strive toward one shared goal, and how important it is to not let your fellow man down.

Boldin, the NFL's 2015 Walter Payton Man of the Year, oversees the south Florida-based Q81 Foundation, which offers educational support for under-privileged children.

Bills general manager Brandon Beane said the team respects Boldin's decision to retire.

"We appreciate the time he gave us over the past two weeks," Beane said. "He is one of the best receivers to play this game and we wish him and his family all the best moving forward."

Boldin's decision came as a complete surprise, especially after he talked about building on his legacy entering his 15th season and being open to serving as a mentor for Buffalo's young group of receivers. Though he was non-committal about his future beyond this year, Boldin was intent on playing this season upon signing a one-year contract with a base salary of $1.75 million on Aug. 7.

"At this point in your career, you can't get too far ahead of yourself, so I just take it a year at a time," he had said. "Once I'm committed, I'm all in."

The Bills, however, aren't the same team he joined. Only four days after Boldin signed, Buffalo traded its top receiving threat in Sammy Watkins to the Los Angeles Rams for cornerback E.J. Gaines as part of two blockbuster deals on Aug. 11. In a separate trade, the Bills acquired receiver Jordan Matthews from Philadelphia for starting cornerback Ronald Darby.

The Bills also acquired second- and third-round draft picks in an indication the team is more intent on building through next year's draft.

Though surprised by the moves, Boldin insisted at the time that Watkins' presence had little to do with him signing with Buffalo.

"For me, I would've loved to have played alongside of Sammy, but that wasn't the reason I signed here," Boldin had signed. "The reason I signed here is the guys who are still here. I believe in coach Sean (McDermott) and what he's doing and the direction this organization is heading in."

McDermott is a first-time coach who spent the past six seasons as the Carolina Panthers defensive coordinator. He was hired in January to replace Rex Ryan, who was fired in the final week of last season.

Boldin ranks in the top four among active receivers with 1,076 catches, 13,779 yards receiving and 82 touchdowns receiving.

He appeared in just one preseason game for Buffalo, and finished with one catch for 5 yards in a 20-16 loss to Philadelphia on Thursday night.

Boldin spent last season with Detroit, where he had 67 catches for 584 yards and eight touchdowns in 16 games. The former Florida State star spent his first seven NFL seasons with Arizona, then played three years with Baltimore and three with San Francisco. He helped the Ravens win the Super Bowl in February 2013.

The Bills are in a sudden state of disarray at the receiver position three weeks before the season opens, and in the midst of a 17-year playoff drought -- the longest active streak in North America's four professional sports.

Boldin was supposed to fill a top-three spot alongside Matthews and rookie second-round draft pick Zay Jones.

Matthews, however, is listed as week to week after chipping a bone in his sternum during his first practice after being traded. He began light workouts on Sunday, and is on track to be ready for the season opener against the New York Jets.

Free-agent addition Rod Streater's status is more uncertain after hurting his left toe against Philadelphia. McDermott said the medical staff is still evaluating Streater's injury and wouldn't rule out the possibility of surgery.

That leaves Andre Holmes and Philly Brown now competing for an increased role in an offense headed by quarterback Tyrod Taylor.

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Ravens keep AFC playoff hopes alive with win over Cleveland Browns

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USA Today Sports

Ravens keep AFC playoff hopes alive with win over Cleveland Browns

CLEVELAND -- When he looked up and saw hundreds of purple-and-black clad Baltimore fans ringing the tunnel entrance, coach John Harbaugh was moved to return the love.

He tossed his baseball cap into the stands and peeled off two sweat shirts that he handed out as souvenirs.

"Well worth it," Harbaugh said of his generosity.

The Ravens didn't give up anything else Sunday.

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Joe Flacco threw a touchdown pass, ran for a score and beat Cleveland again as Baltimore stayed on track for a spot in the AFC playoffs with a 27-10 win over the Browns, now two losses from becoming the NFL's second 0-16 team.

Flacco scored on a 2-yard run and threw a 33-yard TD pass to tight end Benjamin Watson as the Ravens (8-6), coming off a heartbreaking loss to rival Pittsburgh, took control with two touchdowns in the final 3:01 of the first half.

Baltimore's opportunistic defense also contributed by forcing four more turnovers, with tackle Brandon Williams recovering a fumble and rolling into the end zone for a TD in third quarter to put the Ravens up 24-10.

"We've been doing some good things for a few weeks now and obviously it's getting our confidence rolling," said Flacco, who improved to 17-2 against the Browns. "Guys are starting to get some mojo and really starting to feel it."

The Browns (0-14) went 0-8 at home -- 0-7 in Cleveland, 0-1 in London -- for the second time and must win at either Chicago or Pittsburgh to avoid joining the 2008 Detroit Lions in the notorious 0-16 club. Last season, the Browns avoided infamy by winning their final home game and finishing 1-15.

Cleveland is 1-29 in two seasons under coach Hue Jackson, who is expected to be back despite his .033 winning percentage. Following the game, Jackson addressed speculation he might be interested in going Cincinnati, where Marvin Lewis is expected to leave at the end of the season.

"I'm not running from this," Jackson said. "I have never gone any place and left it worse than when I found it. I'm not going to run from this. I'm going to be here and I need to get this fixed as fast as I can because I think it is important."

Browns rookie quarterback DeShone Kizer threw two more interceptions, the last into a group of defenders in the fourth quarter.

RELATED: PREDICTING AFC PLAYOFF PICTURE

Harbaugh wasn't concerned about his team overlooking the Browns with so much on the line. Baltimore was coming off a punch-in-the-gut, last-second loss to the Steelers, and while the Ravens weren't at their best, they didn't do anything to help Cleveland's cause.

And as long as they take care of business at home against Indianapolis and Cincinnati in their last two games, the Ravens will return to the postseason after a two-year absence.

With the Ravens leading 17-10, Baltimore's defense put away the Browns.

Kizer was stripped in the end zone on his blindside by Za'Darius Smith and the loose ball was pounced on by Williams, who shimmied his 340-pound frame across the goal line.

"I had to do a little scooch, but it was good," Williams said, adding it was his first TD since high school. "I'm happy they didn't call it back. I would have been upset."

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Ravens vs. Brown: Week 15 time, TV channel, live stream, how to watch

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USA Today Sports

Ravens vs. Brown: Week 15 time, TV channel, live stream, how to watch

The Ravens must forget about what happened Sunday against the Pittsburgh Steelers in their 39-38 loss and shift their focus on securing a playoff spot.

Their game Sunday against the 0-13 Cleveland Browns should be an easy win with the Indianapolis Colts and Cincinnati Bengals as their remaining opponents down the stretch.

After a rocky start to the season, the Ravens offense has finally gotten it together. Against the Steelers, Joe Flacco threw for 269 yards,1 TD and 1 INT.

RELATED: WEEK 14 NFL POWER RANKINGS 

The star of the season, however, has been running back Alex Collins. Collins plowed through the Steelers defense for 18 carries, 120 yards and 1 TD. 

What failed the Ravens at Heinz Field was the defense, who has been strong for the majority of the season. The Browns are ranked dead last in the league in points, something the Ravens defense should be capable of walking all over. 

The winless Browns were so close to getting their first win of the season against the Green Bay Packers in Week 14, but blew it in OT. 

Quarterback DeShone Kizer was 20/28 for 214 yards, 3 TD and 2 INT.

Running back Isaiah Crowell had 19 carries for 121 yards averaging 6.4 yards per carry. Wide receiver Josh Gordon had 3 receptions, 69 yards and 1 TD. 

While the stats are decent, they were playing against an Aaron Rodgers-less Packers and allowed 14 points in the fourth, blowing their lead and not securing a win in OT. 

The Ravens may have lost Sunday's game to the Steelers, but they showed they could go into enemy territory and give the top seeded team in the AFC a run for their money. 

The Ravens and Browns have met 37 times with the Ravens leading the series by an astounding 28-9 and have outscored them 865-552.

Here's everything you need to know ahead of Sunday's matchup.

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Week 15 Ravens vs. Browns:

Who: Baltimore Ravens vs. Cleveland Browns

What: Week 15 NFL regular season 

When: 1:00 p.m.. ET, Sunday, Dec. 17, 2017

Where: FirstEnergy Stadium, Cleveland, Ohio

TV Channel: CBS

Live Stream: CBS All Access

Online with no Cable TV: fuboTV (Try for free)

Radio: WBAL New Radio 1090 

Point Spread: Baltimore, -7

Over/Under: 40

Weather: 39 degrees, rain

BALTIMORE RAVENS 2017 REGULAR SEASON SCHEDULE:

Week 1 (Sun, Sept. 10): 20-0  at Cincinnati Bengals (W)

Week 2 (Sun, Sept. 17): 24-10 vs. Cleveland Browns (W)

Week 3 (Sun, Sept. 24): 44-7 vs. Jacksonville Jaguars (in London) (L)

Week 4 (Sun, Oct. 1): vs. Pittsburgh Steelers, 1:00 p.m. (L)

Week 5 (Sun, Oct. 8): at Oakland Raiders, 4:05 p.m. (W)

Week 6 (Sun, Oct. 15): vs Chicago Bears, 1:00 p.m. (L)

Week 7 (Sun, Oct. 22): at Minnesota Vikings, 1:00 p.m. (L)

Week 8 (Thur, Oct. 26): vs. Miami Dolphins, 8:25 p.m. (W)

Week 9 (Sun, Nov. 5): at Tennessee Titans, 1:00 p.m. (L)

Week 10 (Sun, Nov. 12): BYE week

Week 11 (Sun, Nov. 19): at Green Bay Packers, 1:00 p.m.(W)

Week 12 (Mon, Nov. 27): vs. Houston Texans, 8:30 p.m.(W)

Week 13 (Sun, Dec. 3): vs. Detroit Lions, 1:00 p.m.(W)

Week 14: (Sun, Dec. 10): at Pittsburgh Steelers, 8:30 p.m. (L)

Week 15: (Sun, Dec. 17): at Cleveland Browns, 1:00 p.m.

Week 16: (Sat, Dec. 23): vs Indianapolis Colts, 4:30 p.m.

Week 17: (Sun, Dec. 31): vs. Cincinnati Bengals, 1:00 p.m