Wednesday, July 15, 2009
Ravens take wait-and-see approach
By James Walker
Baltimore Ravens coach John Harbaugh said in a conference call Wednesday that he plans to meet with top receiver Derrick Mason soon.
The subject undoubtedly will revolve around Mason's sudden retirement earlier this week, and whether there's a chance he will change his mind before the start of the 2009 season.
The Ravens were caught off guard Monday when Mason, who led the team in receptions and yards in 2008, told jocklife.com that he was calling it quits after 12 seasons. Mason had been rehabbing his shoulder this offseason and was in Baltimore as recently as Monday.
Mason cited the passing of longtime friend and former teammate Steve McNair as a major reason he is leaving the game and recently told ESPN that he is "99 percent" sure of his decision. Baltimore is still taking a wait-and-see approach until Mason meets with team officials and files the official paperwork.
"We have an appointment to talk real soon, either by phone or when I get back next week," Harbaugh said. "So it will be interesting to see where he is at with everything. I know he's going through a lot in the last couple weeks with Steve's situation and those kinds of things. But I'm looking forward to talking to him."
The Ravens have been in the process of examining what's available in the free-agent market at receiver. Veterans such as Marvin Harrison, Matt Jones and Amani Toomer are some of the established names still looking for work.
Right now the Ravens are thin at the position, as Mark Clayton is one of the few receivers with starting experience on the roster. Baltimore is hoping to get the issue resolved before the team opens training camp on July 28.
"Whatever he does, I stand behind him 100 percent," said Ravens defensive end/linebacker Terrell Suggs, who signed a six-year, $63 million extension Wednesday. "I would love to have him for another year, but only Derrick Mason knows what's good for him."
James Walker covers the AFC North for ESPN.com.