I’m going to pre-empt this article by putting in a request for those who read it to avoid turning the comments section into a vitriolic debate over politics. This is not me saying “this is not the time to discuss” whatever it is there it is to discuss, but it is me saying it’s not the place. This is a website that is tasked with analyzing and aggregating media content concerning football and its players, and anything ‘political’ only comes up when it happens to intersect. Nobody is going to bring about any change by telling me what you think the country should do so please stick to the topic instead.
With that said, there is at least one member of the NFL community that endured last week’s tragedy of another school shooting more directly than most, and a player that we have come to know a bit over the past year—much to the Pittsburgh Steelers’ chagrin.
Baltimore Ravens running back Alex Collins learned that among the 17 dead in the Florida high school mass murder was a 17-year-old girl by the name of Cara Loughran. Loughran attended the same dance school as Collins, the Drake School of Irish Dance. Two other members of the dance school also attended Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, where the shooting took place, and were witnesses to the tragedy.
Collins shared the information on his social media profile, writing in a text image, “we received confirmation a few hours ago we lost one of the girls [from the dance school], Cara Loughran. Two other girls saw and experienced unspeakable tragedy. My heart goes out to these girls, all the families and their teacher Chrissy. Please pray for our Drake families and the families affected by this tragedy”.
Both this high school and Plantation High School, where Collins attended, are in Broward County, where he grew up. His mother wanted him to stay close to home so badly that she literally ran away with his letter of intent to attend Arkansas, where he ended up playing after the school sent him a second letter of intent to be signed—this time by his father.
After a successful career at Arkansas, Collins was drafted by the Seahawks but let go after one season after rushing for 125 yards on 31 carries. He was picked up by the Ravens and eventually worked himself into the starting spot.
In 15 games, with 12 starts, Collins rushed for 973 yards on 212 attempts with six touchdowns. Some of his best running came in his two games against the Steelers. He rushed for 202 yards on 27 carries combined in both games with one rushing touchdown, plus two receptions for 46 yards, though they lost both games.
As it currently stands, Collins is likely to remain the Ravens’ featured running back, though that probably will not preclude them from drafting a running back that falls into their laps. Personally, I would enjoy watching him a lot more outside of the AFC North.