As we countdown to training camp, Clifton Brown and Bo Smolka will take turns putting 25 key Ravens under the microscope this month.
They’ll speculate on a best-case, worst-case scenario for at least one player every day. They’ll begin with players looking to carve out a role, or a roster spot. They’ll end with the Ravens’ most important players, concluding with quarterback Joe Flacco on July 25.
UNDER THE MICROSCOPE - Kamar Aiken, sixth-year wide receiver
Aiken is again the Ravens leading receiver with 70+ catches
Why it could happen:
Aiken was a breakout star in the Ravens otherwise lost 2015 season; this was a player who did not have a catch in his first three seasons in the league, but given the chance as a starter last year, Aiken seized it. He proved to be tough, durable and reliable, leading the team with 75 catches for 944 yards. John Harbaugh, offensive coordinator Marc Trestman and Joe Flacco have a lot of confidence in him. Steve Smith is returning from an Achilles injury at age 37, and Breshad Perriman and Michael Campanaro were once again sidelined by injuries this summer. Their roles at this point are anyone's guess. In a group with a lot of promise but a lot of questions, Aiken might be the surest thing.
Aiken reverts to a role as a No. 3 or No. 4 receiver
Why it could happen:
Smith and Perriman could make full recoveries from their injuries. Mike Wallace was brought in as an additional deep threat. Campanaro, rookies Keenan Reynolds and Chris Moore and others further crowd the receiver picture. Plus the Ravens are loaded at tight end, especially if Dennis Pitta returns to action. Perriman and Wallace could stretch the field with their speed, opening routes underneath. But if Smith, Pitta and Ben Watson are all involved, Aiken's number won't be called nearly as often as it was last year.
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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.”
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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