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No hard feelings for Jarret Johnson

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No hard feelings for Jarret Johnson

After nine years with the Ravens, linebacker Jarret Johnson knew it was time.

To go, that is.

Johnson, a noted run-stopper who has been sorely missed in this struggling defense, signed with the San Diego Chargers as a free agent after nine seasons in Baltimore.

The Ravens were changing, the salary cap didn't leave much wiggle room and a younger linebacker in Paul Kruger was emerging.

"I wanted to finish my career there," Johnson said of Baltimore. "But I kind of knew the writing was on the wall going into the year (with) the way Kruger was coming on, the way things were kind of working out, other guys' contracts. You can't pay everybody. ... They made it pretty clear pretty early that it wasn't going to work out."

The feeling will be odd for Ravens coach John Harbaugh. Johnson isn’t the only former player he’ll see in San Diego.

"It’ll be very strange. They’ve got a number of ex-Ravens there. A lot of guys. Chris Carr is there now, Jared Gaither, Antwan Barnes, Le’Ron McClain – all guys that have been integral parts of our program and we consider Ravens," Harbaugh said. “It will be a great for a while before the game, but after the game starts they’re Chargers."

Johnson already reached out to Ravens running back Ray Rice for some pregame trash-talk.

"Jarret Johnson is one of my good buddies, and it was tough to see him go because he epitomized what it was to be a Raven," Rice said. "I actually got a funny text from him. He sad, ‘Guys, you better bring your game faces.’ But that’s Double J. He was a no-nonsense kind of guy here.

"So I’m sure between the lines everything will be physical, but after the game it will be great to shake hands, take a picture with him and let him know that we still love him."

Linebacker Terrell Suggs formed an elite tandem with Johnson as the Ravens had the NFL’s No. 2-ranked defense last season. They’ve slipped to 23rd without him and Suggs, who only recently returned from an Achilles tear.

"You’re talking about my brother," Suggs said. "I’m definitely going to give him a hug. Me and Jarret, we came in the same class together (in 2003) and it was nine years me and him. It’s definitely going to be a little emotional to see him wearing a different color and playing for a different team."

 

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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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