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Strahan, Sapp, Ogden among Hall of Fame finalists

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Strahan, Sapp, Ogden among Hall of Fame finalists

CANTON, Ohio (AP) Single-season sacks leader Michael Strahan and two players who tried to block him are among 15 modern-era finalists for the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

Strahan, who had 22 1/2 sacks in 2001 and 141 1/2 for his 15-year his career with the New York Giants, is joined by offensive tackle Jonathan Ogden of the Ravens and guard-tackle Larry Allen of the Cowboys and 49ers.

The fourth first-year eligible to make the cut is defensive tackle Warren Sapp of the Buccaneers and Raiders.

Strahan, Ogden and Sapp all won Super Bowls.

The hall announced Friday that the other finalists are running back Jerome Bettis; receivers Cris Carter, Tim Brown and Andre Reed; LB-DEs Charles Haley and Kevin Greene; guard Will Shields; defensive back Aeneas Williams; coach Bill Parcells; and former owners Edward DeBartolo Jr. of the 49ers and the late Art Modell of the Browns, who moved to Baltimore in 1996 to become the Ravens.

The two senior nominees are defensive tackle Curley Culp - who played for the Chiefs, Oilers and Lions - and linebacker Dave Robinson of the Packers and Redskins.

Between four and seven new members will be selected Feb. 2, the day before the Super Bowl, in New Orleans.

Bettis played for the Rams and Steelers - he won the 2006 Super Bowl in his final game, something Strahan did in 2008. He's in his third season of eligibility and was beaten out by fellow running backs Marshall Faulk in 2011 and Curtis Martin in 2012 for the hall.

Carter, Brown and Reed all were in the top 10 in receptions when they retired. Haley won five Super Bowls, two with San Francisco and three with Dallas.

Greene was one of the first hybrid linebacker-end defenders, which best suited his pass-rushing skills.

Shields was an ironman blocker for 14 seasons in Kansas City. Williams was a versatile defensive back who played on the corner and at safety. He had 55 career interceptions and 23 fumble recoveries.

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Online:http://pro32.ap.org/poll andhttp://twitter.com/AP-NFL

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Ray Lewis launching bourbon brand for charity, gifting first bottles to Trump, Pence

Ray Lewis launching bourbon brand for charity, gifting first bottles to Trump, Pence

Ravens great Ray Lewis will soon have his own line of bourbons called Ray's Reserve, according to The Spirit Business. 

It won't be a profit-driven enterprise. Instead, only 100 bottles will be produced for charity.

The proceeds from their sale will go to the Time to Shine Scholaship & Internship Program for Women, which helps high-school aged women pursue educational and professional opportunities. 

However, Lewis intends to give the first two bottles away as gifts to incoming president Donald Trump and vice president Mike Pence. 

“I have been thoroughly impressed with president-elect Trump and his desire to help inner city kids and provide better education opportunities for women,” Lewis said.

The bourbon will go on sale starting February 15. 

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Ravens name Joe D'Alessandris new offensive line coach

Ravens name Joe D'Alessandris new offensive line coach

Joe D’Alessandris has been named the Ravens’ new offensive line coach, the team announced Thursday. D’Allesandris was tabbed to replace Juan Castillo, who left the Ravens to become the Bills offensive line coach.

D’Alessandris has been an offensive line coach with the Chargers (2013-15), Bills (2010), and Chiefs (2008-09), and he has been a coach at the college or pro level since 1979.

“I feel very privileged and honored to come work with such a tremendous organization,” said D’Alessandris in a statement released by the team. “I very much look forward to the tremendous opportunity of working for (coach) John Harbaugh and (general manager) Ozzie Newsome on an incredible staff.”

Harbaugh said D’Alessandris had the credentials to improve the offensive line in all areas.

“We had a number of very good, qualified candidates for this position, and we have the right fit with Joe,” Harbaugh said in a statement. “He’s a hard-nosed, experienced coach, who is an excellent teacher. He’ll be able to work with our veterans to get the most out of them, and he’ll take our young linemen to higher levels.”

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