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Cary Williams: 'I was worth more'

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Cary Williams: 'I was worth more'

No one could ever accuse cornerback Cary Williams of not seeing the bigger picture.

The Ravens cornerback, who grew up in tough circumstances in the drug- and crime-infested Liberty City section of Miami, always has had his sights set above and beyond what's expected of him.

"I can't allow my circumstances to determine my future. … I never looked into that tunnel. I always looked outside of it," said Williams, 27, a seventh-round pick the Ravens nabbed from the practice squad of the Tennessee Titans. "I always had a broader scope on how life could be and the way I wanted my life to turn out.. I knew if I wanted to get out of those circumstances I had to do something different."

Williams is standing out alright. He's in a contract year, having rejected a three-year, $15 million from the Ravens before the season. He was slowed by hip surgery this summer and had to assume the role of No. 1 corner with the absence of Lardarius Webb to a knee ligament tear.

Now Williams, who earned a starting role in training camp for the first time in his fourth NFL season by beating out 2011 first-round pick Jimmy Smith, has come full circle. He has gone from not having an interception in his career to four which leads the AFC.

Williams has gotten the four picks in the Ravens' last five games. His first one, a 63-yard return for a touchdown, was the winning margin in a 23-16 win vs. the Cleveland Browns on Sept 27.

"Cary's so focused. People can say its the contract negotiation. People can say he's going into his last year, whatever … Everybody said things about him," safety Bernard Pollard said. "Everybody have dogged him. People have said all the crazy stuff. But nobody understands, he is his worst critic. We are his worst critic. ...

"Cary has gone through the surgeries and everything and Cary has bounced back."

In last week's road victory against the Browns, Williams intercepted Brandon Weeden on their first drive of the second half. He also made a spectacular return of 26 yards to advance the ball into Cleveland's territory.

Turning down Baltimore's before the season doesn't seem like a bad idea after all.

"I felt like I was worth more. I felt like I brought a lot to the table. A lot of guys that (are) third corners are worth more than that. … I felt like I deserved a little bit better," Williams. "Fifteen million dollars was a great deal. It's a wonderful opportunity. It's a humbling offer. It was a great offer.

"At the end of the day my scope has never been that small. I take that from days I grew up in Liberty City until today. I want to continue to get better, I want to continue to strive for more and achieve for greater things."

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Ravens cancel Saturday's open practice at M&T Bank Stadium

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USA Today Sports

Ravens cancel Saturday's open practice at M&T Bank Stadium

The Baltimore Ravens cancelled Saturday night's free open practice at M&T Bank Stadium due to a forecast that calls for heavy rain and inclement weather.

There is no official word from the team on whether this practice will be resheduled, but it seems like Sunday may be an option, even though there's rain in the forecast then too.

Ravens fans who were looking to see first-round draft pick and potential future starting quarterback Lamar Jackson will have to wait for another day. His presence at training camp, an inevitable competition with the incumbent, Joe Flacco, and potential two-quarterback packages involving both of them are set to be some of the biggest storylines of Ravens camp this summer.

As a Heisman Trophy winner, Jackson was one of the most dynamic players in college football during his time at Louisville. If he can replicate that kind of performance in the NFL, he will be at plenty more training camp sessions for Ravens fans to watch.

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After breakout 2017 season, Ravens running back Alex Collins isn't getting too comfortable

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After breakout 2017 season, Ravens running back Alex Collins isn't getting too comfortable

This time last year, running back Alex Collins wasn't a part of the Baltimore Ravens.

After being released by the Seattle Seahawks at the end of the 2017 preseason, the Ravens placed the 23-year-old on their practice squad, and by Week 2, Collins was already making plays.

As the season progressed, Collins found himself as the Ravens' top running back. He finished 2017 as the team's leading rusher with 973 yards while Javorius "Buck" Allen followed behind him with 591 yards.

If the 2018 NFL season began today, Collins would likely be the Ravens' starter, which is quite ironic considering the fate of his 2017 preseason.

"I always go back to where I started and where I am now, and I use that as my motivation," Collins said after Thursday's training camp practice.

"No matter the day, no matter how tired I am, I think to myself, at this time last year, I didn’t know my position, where I was, where I’d end up. So just having that security behind it is definitely my motivation to keep it this way and keep pushing forward and keep trying to get better instead of being complacent.”

Over the course of 15 games, Collins proved he had the strength and speed to make an impact on the team after Danny Woodhead suffered a hamstring injury on the first drive of the Ravens' Week 1 game and Kenneth Dixon sat out the entire season with a torn meniscus. 

While job security is something we all strive for, Collins isn't getting too comfortable with the hierarchy. 

“I don’t want to say necessarily ‘comfortable,’ because when I use that word, it makes me feel like I’m too relaxed and lackadaisical," Collins said.

"I’m more focused. I don’t want to get comfortable. I don’t want the team or our group to get comfortable, because we just want to get better every day. So, in the position I am, it’s a great feeling, but I’m always pushing myself to be better.”

While Collins has set personal goals for himself – like a 1,000-yard season – he is equally as focused on making the Ravens backfield one of the best groups in the National Football League. 

“I expect that," Collins said on being the Ravens' starter.

"I would hope that all the other running backs expect [to be the starter] as well, and that’s what kind of drives our group – when we all know that we have that capability to be the No. 1 guy, and we’re out competing and push each other and try to be the best. No matter who’s out there during the game, you’ll see a productive play out of that person. So, I have that mindset. I want to be the guy. I have that fire in me, and I hope [that is] as well as the other running backs, as I encouraged them as well.”

Collins noted that he's coming into training camp a bit heavier. He added five pounds to his 200-pound frame "just to see how that feels," but is still maintaining the stamina and strength he's always had. 

Collins – who was one of several veterans released from practice early as the team begins to adjust their way into the extended preseason – finished his media availability with a friendly warning to fantasy football owners: "Draft me now before it’s too late, guys."

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