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Ravens DT Williams 'glad to be home' after signing mega deal

Ravens DT Williams 'glad to be home' after signing mega deal

OWINGS MILLS, Md. -- Long before the start of free agency, the Baltimore Ravens weighed their options and decided that 340-pound Brandon Williams was a keeper.

Then, after it became apparent that it was going to take a whole lot of money to make it happen, general manager Ozzie Newsome turned to owner Steve Bisciotti for guidance.

"Do what you have to do to get the deal done," Bisciotti told Newsome.

And so, after agreeing to terms last week, Williams on Monday signed a five-year, $52.5 million contract that made him the highest-paid nose tackle in the NFL.

Williams has starred over the past three seasons for one of the best defensive units in the league. He is the latest in a long line of standouts at the position, following Tony Siragusa, Sam Adams, Kelly Gregg and Haloti Ngata.

"This is a really good investment for us, because of the kind of player he's been and the kind of player he's going to be," coach John Harbaugh said. "I'm thrilled Brandon Williams is part of our championship run going forward."

Surrounded by Newsome and Harbaugh at a news conference at the Ravens training complex, Williams wore a gray suit and a broad smile. He could have made big money elsewhere, but didn't want to leave the team that showed faith in him by selecting him in the third round of the 2013 draft out of tiny Missouri Southern State.

"First off, I want to say, I'm glad to be home," Williams said. "Big-time relief."

Most players look forward to the process of putting themselves out there to the highest bidder. Williams, 28, had no desire to be part of it.

"I was hoping for the best, but expecting the worst," he said. "It was tough, but in the end it worked out perfectly. When it got down to it, I couldn't see myself in any other color but purple and black."

Williams found out he was coming back with a phone call from Newsome that both participants won't soon forget.

"The emotion that he had, the excitement, how happy he was, it was something that my wife said, `You're on a high,' and I was," Newsome said. "I could just feel it through the phone."

Williams said, "I was emotional. That phone call, knowing that I was going to continue to be a Raven, talking to Ozzie and hearing the happiness and joy in his voice, put a stamp on it -- that I made the right choice."

In addition to retaining Williams, who had 51 tackles and a sack in 2016, the Ravens added free agent safety Tony Jefferson to an ever-changing defense that ranked seventh last year.

"Just one piece at a time," Harbaugh said. Then, referring to Williams, he added, "This is a big piece, literally and figuratively. Really, the main piece for our defense."

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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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