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Hall of Fame adds to busy week for Redskins' RG3

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Hall of Fame adds to busy week for Redskins' RG3

ASHBURN, Va. (AP) Robert Griffin III's week so far has consisted of his first Monday night football win, hearing fans chant his RG3 nickname throughout the Washington Wizards' Tuesday upset of the Miami Heat, and a Wednesday visit from an official who collected the rookie quarterback's jersey and cleats for the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

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``He's a unifying figure in the community,'' right guard Chris Chester said. ``I might need to bring him to my son's T-ball games.''

Seriously, Griffin can seem to do no wrong these days. Even Washington Redskins coach Mike Shanahan, who is hardly the easiest guy to impress, confesses to being mightily impressed by Griffin's charisma.

``He kind of surprises me in almost every situation, on how well he handles himself and how well he communicates,'' Shanahan said. ``I wish I could communicate like that. I'm going to have him talk to the team - in fact, I have the last couple of weeks.''

Griffin has led the Redskins (6-6) on a three-game winning streak that has Washington and closing in on first place in the NFC East heading into Sunday's matchup against the Baltimore Ravens. He broke Cam Newton's NFL single-season rushing record for yards rushing by a rookie quarterback during Monday night's 17-16 win over the New York Giants, thus prompting the Hall to request his cleats and dirt-stained No. 10 jersey.

``Everyone wants to be in the Hall of Fame,'' Griffin said, ``so we're in there. But I've got a long career, preferably, and this is only the first step. It's an honor to have my jersey and cleats, although they're very dirty, in the Hall of Fame.''

But, by now, everyone knows Griffin is more than numbers. He practically upstaged the Heat-Wizards game when he took his front-row seat to roars from the crowd in the first quarter. Sure enough, a Washington team that had won only one game previously all season stunned the reigning NBA champions.

``What can you say? Those guys are the ones who played. I didn't play the game,'' Griffin said. ``Even Coach said I can't go over there rubbing off, using all my magic on those guys when we need it for us.''

Such attention can be overwhelming for most 22-year-olds, but Griffin can handle it.

``It's humbling to have the fans, whether it's football fans, basketball fans, chanting or cheering for you,'' Griffin said. ``It means you're really doing something for the city.''

So, cornerback DeAngelo Hall was asked, is there anything Griffin can't do?

``Beat me in the 40,'' said Hall, a brave statement considering Griffin was a college hurdles champion. ``Don't tell him that, though. He's got young legs, so he might think he can get me.''

``The kid's special,'' Hall added. ``He's on the verge of being a rock star. We used to travel with Mike Vick when I was in Atlanta, and it was definitely a rock-star-type atmosphere wherever he went. And RG is having that same kind of following.

``When we were in Dallas, we saw people who had on Redskins gear and jerseys, and asked them, `You all Redskins fans?' `Nah.' `You hate the Cowboys?' `Nah. Just love RG.' `All right. We'll take it.'

``And that's kind of how it's been. Guys might not like the Redskins, but they love him. They love him personally. ... Or just like the excitement he brings to the game. People like him. Fans like him. And we're getting that reciprocating effect as far as Redskins teammates being able to get - wherever we go, whatever city we go to - people in the stands cheering for us. Whether they're cheering his name or cheering for us in general, he has that following.''

Notes: Hall was wearing a walking boot Wednesday after hurting his right ankle Monday night. Shanahan said he expects Hall to play against the Ravens. ``There's no way I'm not playing this game, so it's a non-story,'' Hall said. ... LB London Fletcher (sprained left ankle) and LT Trent Williams (left thigh bruise) also did not practice. ... Shanahan on CB Cedric Griffin, who was suspended Tuesday for four games for violating the NFL's policy on performance enhancing substances: ``He's a great kid, and I love the kid, how he handles himself. He just made a bad decision.'' ... The Redskins replaced Cedric Griffin on the 53-man roster by promoting T Tom Compton from the practice squad. They also signed CB Korey Lindsey and LB Kourtnei Brown to the practice squad.

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AP Pro Football Writer Howard Fendrich contributed to this report.

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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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