Monday, August 3, 2009
Derrick Mason ended his "retirement" this weekend, and reported to training camp in Westminster, MD.
Mason has been dealing with some "personal issues", most likely stemming from former Titans and Ravens teammate Steve McNair, who was murdered in July. Mason announced his retirement a few days following the funeral.
It's also possible Mason was using the retirement as leverage to get an extension, as 2009 is the last year on his contract. But as Mason showed up at camp over the weekend he stated his intention to "finish this thing". Whether he is talking about his contract or a Super Bowl win is up to you.
Having Mason back allows the Ravens and their fans to take a deep sigh of relief. Without Mason, the WR corps looked like a rudderless ship. Mark Clayton is better suited as a deep-threat #2 WR, not the ball-controlling #1 that Mason is and has been throughout his career. And the remaining WR's in camp have only a handful of NFL games between them.
Without Mason, the Ravens were relying on the planets to align to get production from the WR's they had. With Mason back, they have a veteran leader, someone with great route-running skills and good hands. And Joe Flacco has his security blanket back.
However, the Ravens should still be looking for ways to improve the passing game. Having Mason back puts the Ravens back where they were at the end of 2008, which was still a game short of the Super Bowl and 0-3 against the Steelers.
But Mason takes away the desperation of having to make a move, like trading for Brandon Marshall or signing a troubled player like Plaxico Burress. Luckily, the Ravens were never actually considering making either move.
At any rate, welcome back, Derrick!