Greetings from 1 Winning Drive, where the Baltimore Ravens gathered today to clear out their lockers before beginning the offseason. A number of players met with the media, a handful were unavailable. The players spent much of the day signing each others’ helmets and recycling gear, but a number of players were very aware of the fact that they might be cleaning out their locker for the final time here at the complex. This was a common sight today…
The biggest story of the day was the BIZARRE conversation Derrick Mason had with us while he was cleaning out his locker. It opened this way….
From there, it was a strange rambling where Mason both made it appear that he was retiring, then eventually left everyone in the air about his future. Some of the highlights….
-”This is it. I had a lot of fun. We had a good role this year…”
-”I’m possibly done as a player in the NFL. I feel good physically, but mentally I just gotta see what happens from here.”
-”I don’t know what the Ravens are going to do.”
-”I’ve got a week to rest and find something to do…here or in Nashville. Cut a little grass probably.”
-”I will talk to Coach Harbaugh or Ozzie (Newsome) and Cam (Cameron) and my position coach (Jim Hostler), let them know where my mind is at mentally.”
-”I didn’t wana Super Bowl yet…..I think I’m gonna tell ya’ll when Ed Reed tell ya’ll.”
-”Ed Reed’s 50-50 right now, I’m more like 60-40.”
-”Nothing’s definite but death and taxes.”
-”I’m gonna make a decision…quickly and definitively. It’s not gonna be a drawn out thing.”
-”If someone catches me working out in another week, then I guess I made my decision. But if not, I guess my days of playing football are possibly over.”
-”Anyone who gives you a percentage….even though I said 60-40….they’re lying.”
-”There’s a chance” he could come back to Baltimore.
It was REALLY weird. I implore you to listen to it in the Audio Vault at WNST.net. It came off as though Derrick WANTED to announce his retirement, but had a sudden change of heart as he was talking.
There is more to be heard in the Audio Vault at WNST.net. You can hear from these players, and I’ll include a highlight from each:
WR Kelley Washington: “I’m going to look out for myself, put myself in the best situation…I don’t expect everybody to be back.”
DE/LB Paul Kruger told us he was meeting with John Harbaugh later today to discuss what he needs to do in the offseason to make sure he plays next year.
QB Troy Smith: “I love the situation here, I love the people here. Through the thick of things, you wanna play, you wanna be on the field.”
WR Demetruius Williams-On his time in Baltimore: “I can’t say it’s been all great, I can’t say it’s been all bad. It’s been my time.”
QB Joe Flacco: “I was not affected in any way” by injuries.
OT Michael Oher says Jared Gaither is Ravens LT: “He’s a better player than I am, better athlete. It would be better” if he was RT & Gaither LT.
WR Mark Clayton: WR corps “needs to be strong”… Ravens probably need to add a “playmaker” to group. He expects to be a restricted free agent, and says of his relationship with the team- “we’re cool.”
K Billy Cundiff: “I’d love to come back.” He added that he would be open to competition in Training Camp if he comes back.
LS Matt Katula: “I wanna be here…hopefully I am.” Elbow is “not an excuse…I just need to get better.”
LB Jarret Johnson says he’ll be rooting for the Jets, but it’s “bittersweet” to see so many former Ravens having success there.
DT Justin Bannan: “I don’t have a crystal ball, all I can say is I love this city, the organization, the fans. It’s been a true pleasure…”
OT Jared Gaither initially told reporters he was unavailable due to the flu, but later came back and appeared to be fine. “I’m not really worried about” future with team, “I’m pretty sure I’ll be here”
LB Brendon Ayanbadejo on Ed Reed’s status: “Time is the greatest healer. Once the game is gone, that’s pretty much what you want to have back.”
S Dawan Landry on future with team: “Hopefully everything works out.”
CB Chris Carr: “I’m definitely going to try to call (Ed Reed) and try to convince him to stay.”
CB Lardarius Webb says he’ll be staying in Baltimore to rehab injury. Training Camp is a “realistic” expectation, but he won’t “rush.”
CB Domonique Foxworth: “I fully expect (Ed Reed) to be back.”
Amongst the players who weren’t available to meet with the media today were LB Ray Lewis, LB Terrell Suggs, DT Haloti Ngata, RB Ray Rice, C Matt Birk, TE Todd Heap, DT Kelly Gregg and RB Willis McGahee. McGahee was approached in the locker room, but he exclaimed “I’m out” as he moved swiftly past repoters. I believe a reporter may have been able to corner him as he was leaving the building entirely. Other players may have had individual meetings.
John Harbaugh will hold his final press conference of the season tomorrow morning at 11am. We will have live coverage for you at WNST.net and via Twitter (@WNST). The traditional end of season news conference with Harbaugh, Steve Bisciotti and Ozzie Newsome is not scheduled as of yet.