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Bears to play in Hall of Fame game against Ravens

It's an extra preseason game, but the Bears will be playing the first NFL contest of the year.

NFL: NFL Honors-Red Carpet Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

The Chicago Bears will kick off the 2018 NFL preseason (and technically, the season as a whole) against the Baltimore Ravens in the Hall of Fame Game, Thursday, Aug. 2 at 8 p.m. EST.

As Michael Signora’s tweet indicates, there’s a nice, handy countdown to the date as well if you’re suffering from football withdrawal like I am.

The Bears and Ravens were obvious selections for the game due to the proximity and the fact that the teams have 2018 Hall of Fame class members Brian Urlacher and Ray Lewis, two of the best linebackers of their generation.

The game is about as bad as preseason game number four, since starters will see little, if any action and rosters will still be at 90. So lots of players that won’t be on the team even by the end of the month.

But it will be the first chance to see the new Bears' coaching staff, free agents and draft picks.

The Bears last played in the Hall of Fame Game in 2005 against the Dolphins, winning 27-24. Interestingly, the Bears had no Hall of Famers in the unusually small class (just four players were inducted: Dan Marino, Steve Young, Bennie Friedman and Fritz Pollard).

Also, I would like to point out I predicted this game the day the 2018 Hall of Fame class was announced: