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Harbaugh denies Monroe's views on marijuana led to his release

Harbaugh denies Monroe's views on marijuana led to his release

OWINGS MILLS – Ravens coach John Harbaugh strongly denied that Eugene Monroe’s stance on medical marijuana had any bearing on the team’s decision to cut him on Wednesday afternoon.

Monroe has been a vocal advocate for allowing players to use marijuana for medical reasons.

Asked whether his views on marijuana played a part in him being released Wednesday, Monroe told The New York Times, “I can’t say for sure whether or not my stance on medical cannabis was the reason the Ravens released me. However, as I’ve said in the past, they have distanced themselves from me and made it clear they do not support my advocacy.”

Harbaugh had a different take, saying he respected Monroe, but that his release was a football decision.

Monroe missed 17 of a possible 34 starts over the last two seasons, and the Ravens did not get what they expected after he signed a six-year, $37.5 million contract in 2014.

Had the Ravens not drafted left tackle Ronnie Stanley with the No. 6 overall pick, perhaps Monroe would have gotten another season in Baltimore. But Stanley’s arrival cleared the way for Monroe’s exit, and saved the team $6.5 million in salary cap room this season.

“He’s got a lot of friends here, he’s well thought of here,” Harbaugh said of Monroe.

“Football circumstances change, from the end of the season until now. One hundred percent football circumstances. That’s all it ever was. Everybody here, it’s well documented. It’s no reflection on Eugene Monroe in any way. It just has to do with circumstances with the Ravens and that position."

“He’s going to get picked up, he’s going to play, he’s going to play very well, because he’s an excellent football player. This organization has always been very forward thinking, very open, very in front of all kind of issues - have always allowed their players to speak out, speak their mind, and be who they are. You can go all the way back to Art Modell and Jim Brown. Then bring it on to Steve Bisciotti with Ray Lewis, and Jonathan Ogden, and Ed Reed, and these guys who have been very outspoken. Since I’ve been here, you can look at the Matt Birk and Brendon Ayanbadejo stuff. So we’ve got a really good track record for all that, and I’m proud of that.”

Monroe has vowed to remain a strong advocate for medical marijuana. But regardless of his views, the Ravens’ decision to cut Monroe was hardly a surprise.

RELATED: THE RIPPLE EFFECTS OF RELEASING MONROE

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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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