Ravens finalize preseason schedule

OWINGS MILLS - The Baltimore Ravens finalized a preseason schedule that includes their first official contest with the Washington Redskins. First, the Ravens host the Buffalo Bills on Aug. 9 at 8 p.m. to open the preseason. Then, Baltimore travels to Atlanta on Aug. 16 for an 8 p.m. preseason game against the Falcons at the Georgia Dome. The Ravens' first preseason meeting with the Redskins is set for Aug. 24 at 8 p.m. at FedEx Field.

The Ravens had scrimmaged the Redskins previously. Baltimore's final preseason game is at home against the New York Giants on Aug. 28 at 8 p.m.

The Ravens had won four games in a row over the Giants in preseason play until losing last summer at Giants Stadium.

"The preseason is going to be very important for us this year," Ravens coach Brian Billick said. "It is great that we are playing the Redskins. That is something that I'm hopeful will be maintained for a long time to come, because I think it is great for the fans."

HOSPITAL VISIT: A group of Ravens that includes Pro Bowl tight end Todd Heap, linebacker Edgerton Hartwell and defensive end Riddick Parker, president David Modell and cheerleaders are visiting U.S. soldiers injured in the war with Iraq on Thursday at Walter Reed Army Medical Center and Bethesda Naval Hospital.

The Ravens are scheduled to visit 80 soldiers, including PFC Jessica Lynch, the rescued Prisoner of War who is from West Virginia, and PFC Donald Robert Schaefer, a Baltimore native wounded while rescuing a journalist from Atlanta.

"I consider it an honor to be able to go and visit these heroes," Heap said. "These men and women put their lives on the line to defend our country and our freedom, and I am proud to be able to thank them personally for their sacrifices."

DRAFT DAY ACTIVITIES: The Ravens' Spring Football Festival at Ravens Stadium from 11 to 5 p.m. on April 26 includes players Todd Heap, Edwin Mulitalo and Edgerton Hartwell, cheerleaders, mascots, locker room tours, television and radio coverage of the draft and the Baha Men. For ticket information, call 410-261-RAVE.

DEMPS ON PANEL: Safety Will Demps participated in a panel of athletes and coaches for the Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion on Wednesday at the Baltimore Marriott.

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