Inside the Ravens with Aaron Wilson

Friday, July 24, 2009

Ravens are optimistic that Mason will return

OWINGS MILLS -- Baltimore Ravens general manager Ozzie Newsome has been observing veteran wide receiver Derrick Mason throughout this offseason while the two-time Pro Bowl selection recuperated from surgery to repair his labrum and scapula.

Although Mason is still contemplating whether to follow through on his abrupt retirement announcement, Newsome hasn't noticed any change in Mason's trademark workout regimen."In the end, it comes down to, 'Do you still have the passion and the love for the game?'" Newsome said Thursday in a telephone interview.

"Derrick has worked his butt off this offseason. He's a very productive player. He works hard. "He's in great shape. He's a great student in the classroom. He makes our team stronger if he's a part of it. If he's not, we move on."

At this point, Mason's status remains unsettled nearly two weeks after catching the Ravens off guard with his surprise retirement announcement.Yet, team officials remain upbeat about the possibility that Mason will decide to return at some point during training camp.

"He's ready physically," Ravens coach John Harbaugh told the Associated Press after meeting with Mason this week. "He's in good shape and he's healthy. He just wants to decide if he's mentally ready."It's really open right now.

I'm optimistic and hopeful that he'll be there, but, if he's not there, we'll be support and respect his decision either way."

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