He's Back!


Wide receiver Derrick Mason will play for the Ravens in 2009.

The Ravens received notice Saturday that the 12-year veteran reconsidered his surprise retirement announcement this week.

"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 came to the team's training camp hotel in Westminster, Md., to meet with general manager Ozzie Newsome and head coach John Harbaugh.

He also called Ravens owner Steve Bisciotti earlier today to inform him of his decision.

Mason is sending a letter to the NFL stating his intentions.

He will take a physical either later this afternoon or early tomorrow morning.

The Ravens anticipate that Mason will be on the field sometime Sunday, although like all Ravens, he will have to pass a running test.

The 5-foot-10, 195-pound receiver led the Ravens with 80 catches for 1,037 yards last year. He also added five touchdowns.

Wideout was one of the main concerns for Ravens fans and some NFL pundits. The Ravens were prepared to move forward with the group that is currently on the roster, but Mason's return adds a two-time Pro Bowler and a player that has topped 1,000 yards in seven of the past eight seasons.

Mason has carved out quite a legacy in Baltimore. He owns the Ravens' franchise record with 103 receptions during the 2007 campaign. He also has the second-most career receptions (337).

But Mason abruptly made his retirement announcement two weeks ago. Sources close to him cited personal matters and a shoulder injury that required surgery this offseason to repair his labrum and scapula.

Mason originally issued a quiet statement through a Web site that has been connected with his agent.

"I wanted to make sure that when I do retire, I won't have any regrets," he said. "As I've thought about this and talked about this with my family, I realized I would have regrets if I didn't come back.

"I think I'm in great shape. I have been working out, and I was part of the offseason program. I'm ready to get out there with my teammates."

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