Live from Westminster: Derrick Mason ends retirement, returns to Ravens

August 01, 2009 | Luke Jones

8:39 p.m. — I had to chuckle when I came across this on JOCKlife, the site that broke the news about Mason retiring on July 13.

While Baltimore will undoubtedly welcome back Mason with open arms, the way this “retirement” was initiated will leave a black mark on Mason’s great career.

8:00 p.m. — Earlier I had said the Ravens would need to make a roster move in order to place Mason back on the active 80-man roster, but they will not have to do this since they were at 79 players on the roster.

Sunday’s practices will take place at 8:45 a.m. and 2:45 p.m.  Derrick Mason is expected to be on the field and practicing Sunday morning.  He will talk to the media after the morning session.

2:29 p.m. — The Ravens will take Mason off the reserve-did not report list and place him back on the active roster.  The Ravens placed Mason on the list in order to gain the roster spot on the 80-man limit.

We’ll let you know what that move is as soon as we find out.

2:16 p.m. — There will be no press conference today, but Mason will speak to the media after the morning practice tomorrow, according to Kevin Byrne.

2:03 p.m. — Mason will play under his existing contract, a significant note considering he was clamoring for a new contract earlier in the offseason.  The 35-year-old has one year remaining on the original five-year deal he signed with the Ravens in 2005.

1:56 p.m. — Mason made a statement to the Ravens’ official site saying this:

“It was a tough decision, but I think it was a good decision for me to come back,” Mason said. “I needed to evaluate my life, football and my career. The last several weeks thinking about it and talking with my family was an important time for me and them.

“I still have an intense fire inside me, and I want to play. My family and I wanted to finish it out the right way. I felt like I had left something undone, and I wanted to finish it. I believe this is a good example for my son and my daughter on how to be thoughtful and also follow through.

Mason’s return was anticipated by many, but it solidifies the Ravens’ concerns at the wide receiver position.  He will undoubtedly reclaim his spot as the No. 1 receiver with everyone else sliding down a spot on the depth chart.

1:47 p.m. — Derrick Mason will send a letter to the NFL today stating his intentions to return to the Baltimore Ravens.  According to the Ravens, Mason is very enthused to rejoin his teammates and play football.  He has been working out and will take the physical and conditioning test today, because he wants to practice tomorrow morning.

Mason called Steve Bisciotti this morning to tell the owner that he wants to return to the Ravens.

1:44 p.m. — It’s official.  Derrick Mason is back.

1:34 p.m. — Jamison Hensley is reporting Mason will end his retirement, according to a league source.

Mason is in Westminster and met with Newsome earlier.

1:25 p.m. — According to Mike Duffy’s Twitter account, Mason will give Ozzie Newsome an answer by the end of the day.

1:20 p.m. — Interesting Tweet from Jared Gaither:  “Ohh he back like jordan in 45.”

Could he be referring to No. 85?

1:18 p.m. — Reports are flying that Derrick Mason is in Westminster, as you received via the WNST text service.  According to The Sun, he met with Ozzie Newsome and John Harbaugh.

12:39 p.m. — The best news for Ravens fans from the morning practice is that there were no apparent injuries.

12:37 p.m. — While I’m passing on some funny moments, I thought I’d add one about Terrell Suggs.  With some NFL officials currently at camp to get some work, T-Sizzle thought he would lend a hand when Gano and Hauschka were kicking field goals.

He joined the two officials underneath the goal posts and helped them signal whether each kick was good or not.  The move drew major laughs from the large crowd on hand in Westminster.

12:35 p.m. — The funniest moment of the morning came after practice when Ray Lewis was signing autographs for the Ravens Rookies section filled with kids.  As he was signing, Flacco was doing an interview.  When several kids started yelling for Flacco, Lewis joined in, yelling for his quarterback to come over and sign with him.

Lewis really enjoyed interacting with the young Ravens fans and was one of the last players to leave the field in terms of signing autographs.  Flacco came over to give Lewis relief.

12:29 p.m. — Ray Rice continues to show excellent moves in the early going, and though Willis McGahee has looked strong in his reps, it appears the Ravens are really trying to establish Rice as the feature back.

Despite this, Cam Cameron emphasized yesterday that it will be a by-committee approach, much like last season.

12:27 p.m. — Both kickers are adjusting to the slope of the field at McDaniel College.  It’s causing kicks to hook left, according to Gano.

12:25 p.m. — The kicking battle gave a slight edge to Steve Hauschka this morning, as both Graham Gano and Hauschka for 3-for-4 in a series of consecutive kicks.  Gano’s miss came from 39 yards, and Hauschka missed from 48.  Later in the practice, Gano missed a 50-yard attempt wide left.

Special teams coach Jerry Rosburg said after practice that he sees the competition coming down to the final preseason game.  According to Rosburg, Hauschka has refined his technique considerably while Gano shows outstanding athleticism and foot-eye coordination.

Gano showed that athleticism when he caught returner Lardarius Webb at the 10-yard line on a long kickoff return.  I asked Gano about his speed after practice, and he claims to have run a 4.5 40-yard dash at Florida State.  Sounds like the making of a trick play there if Gano does win the placekicking job.

12:23 p.m. — We saw our first near-fight take place this morning when Haruki Nakamura picked off a Troy Smith pass.  As Nakamura returned the ball down the defensive players’ sideline, Smith gave him a little shot out of bounds.  Antwan Barnes and Terrell Suggs got up in Smith’s face, but the players were quickly separated and cooler heads prevailed.

12:17 p.m. — The Ravens have concluded their morning practice and made it through the session without any apparent injuries.  Trevor Pryce returned to the practice field after a scare yesterday morning.  L.J. Smith sat out again, still feeling the effects of a strained hamstring.  Defensive linemen Will Johnson also missed a second-straight practice.

The passing game was the focal point of the practice, with both the offense and defense turning in sterling plays.

The star of the morning was Dawan Landry who picked off Joe Flacco twice during 11-on-11 passing situations.  The second interception came after a poor decision by Flacco to throw off his back foot.

The morning was not a complete disappointment for Flacco as he completed a 50-yard pass to Demetrius Williams, beating Domonique Foxworth on the play.  Williams continues to show no ill effects from the Achilles issue that ended his 2008 season.

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