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EMOTIONAL KICKOFF

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EMOTIONAL KICKOFF

The Baltimore Ravens and San Francisco 49ers have a tough act to follow after an emotional performance by the chorus from Sandy Hook Elementary School.

The chorus, which featured 26 children from the Newtown, Conn., school where 20 first-graders and six adults were killed in a shooting rampage Dec. 14, were joined by Jennifer Hudson for ``America the Beautiful'' before the start of the Super Bowl. The kids came out first, dressed simply in khakis and white polo shirts, a green ribbon pinned to the right side of their shirts. Several were smiling as the Super Bowl crowd rose to give them a standing ovation. They sang the first chorus, their voices high and sweet with innocence, before Hudson joined them.

Hudson's mother and nephew were shot to death five years ago by her former brother-in-law.

It was a powerful image, and Ravens nose tackle Terrence Cody appeared to be crying as he listened with his head tilted back, his eyes closed. Baltimore coach John Harbaugh stood with his left arm draped over the shoulder of his daughter, Allison.

The children were given another ovation as they left the field.

- Nancy Armour -http://twitter.com/nrarmour

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EDITOR'S NOTE - ``Super Bowl Watch'' shows you the Super Bowl and the events surrounding the game through the eyes of Associated Press journalists across New Orleans and around the world. Follow them on Twitter where available with the handles listed after each item.

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Baltimore Ravens Roundup: Get to know Earl Thomas and Mark Ingram

Baltimore Ravens Roundup: Get to know Earl Thomas and Mark Ingram

We are here to help you get your workweek started with the latest Baltimore Ravens news.

Player Notes: 

Running back Mark Ingram is bringing two Pro Bowls, 1,321 rushing yards and 50 rushing touchdowns to the Ravens, but there's a lot about him you may not know. Did you know that his father, Mark Ingram Sr., was drafted at No. 28 overall just like his son? Probably not. Here's five things to know about Ingram via the Ravens' website. 

Safety Earl Thomas isn't just talented on the field, but off the field as well. Thomas can play piano, drums, saxophone and the organ. During his freshman year of high school, Thomas would change out of his football uniform at halftime into his band uniform to perform and then back again. Here's five things to know about Thomas via the Ravens' website

Former Ravens wide receiver Jeremy Maclin is retiring from the game. The 30-year-old made the announcement at his wife's baby shower over the weekend. Selected 19th overall by the Eagles in the 2009 NFL Draft, Maclin played for the Eagles, Chiefs and the Ravens.

Outside linebacker Tim Williams is ready to be a defensive leader for the Ravens in 2019. With the departures of Eric Weddle, Terrell Suggs, C.J. Mosley and Za'Darius Smith in free agency, Williams is ready to be "that man" for the NFL's No.1 defense. 

Williams has yet to play a full season for the Ravens after being drafted in the third round of the 2017 NFL Draft. In 2018, the linebacker saw action in only sevens games due to hamstring and ankle injuries. 

In AFC news, Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski announced his retirement from the league Sunday via Instagram. The 29-year-old finishes his career with 521 receptions for 7,861 yards, 79 touchdowns and three Super Bowl championship. 

Looking Ahead: 

March 24-27: Annual League Meeting in Phoenix, Az.

April 15: Voluntary OTA's may begin

April 19: Deadline for restricted free agents to sign offer sheets

MORE RAVENS NEWS: 

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Baltimore Ravens Roundup: Congratulations pour in for Robert Griffin III after re-signing with Ravens

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Baltimore Ravens Roundup: Congratulations pour in for Robert Griffin III after re-signing with Ravens

You've made it to Friday and the Baltimore Ravens secured their backup quarterback. What more could we ask for?

Here's the latest news surrounding the Ravens.

Player Notes: 

The Ravens and QB Robert Griffin III agreed in principle to a two-year deal Thursday. A solid option behind Lamar Jackson, players around the league are happy to see the 2012 Offensive Rookie of the Year remain in the NFL.

The Ravens' newest member of their special teams unit, Justin Bethel, doesn't just have skills on the field but off the field as well. Bethel and his brothers have their own jazz band called House of Bethel, where the Raven plays the drums. In the music video for their single called, "The New Boss," Bethel has nearly a minute long drum solo

ESPN's Mel Kiper re-graded the Ravens' 2018 draft class, bringing them from a B-plus to an A-minus. One of the more stronger classes in recent history, the additions of Jackson, Mark Andrews, Hayden Hurst and Orlando Brown Jr. served the Ravens well in 2018. 

Is Action Jackson a hockey guy? The Ravens QB was spotted Thursday night at an Arizona Coyotes game. 

Looking Ahead: 

March 24-27: Annual League Meeting in Phoenix, Az.

April 15: Voluntary OTA's may begin

April 19: Deadline for restricted free agents to sign offer sheets

MORE RAVENS NEWS: