Mason, Bennett Dominate Camp Talk

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In typical Joe Flacco fashion, the Ravens' quarterback could only chuckle when reporters popped the first question of training camp dealing with Derrick Mason's sudden retirement.

"You guys can't leave that alone?" he asked incredulously. "That's been over for a couple of weeks. I think everybody was surprised as you probably were."

Still, there is no denying the hottest topic currently surrounding the Ravens.

At a time when Baltimore welcomed rookies, quarterbacks and selected veterans to Westminster, Md., Flacco was looking forward to beginning his second summer with Cam Cameron's offense.

He will have to do it without his leading receiver.

Flacco said he spoke with Mason last week, but he doesn't have an idea one way or another whether the duo will pair up again.

"He didn't really sound too sure of himself, but I told him whatever decision he makes is his decision," Flacco explained outside the team hotel. "Obviously, he won't be part of it. I just let him know how much we want him and how much he means to the team and stuff like that.

"I don't really know. I think he'll probably talk to the coaches and whatever decision he makes, he makes."

There was even more of a focus on Mason's absence with the news of Drew Bennett's retirement days after an old knee injury "flared up" upon returning home from a workout for Ravens officials.

Even though the 6-foot-5, 196-pound Bennett could have helped ease the potential loss of Mason, Flacco remained unaffected.

"I was kind of looking forward to meeting Drew and getting to know him a little bit," the quarterback admitted. "It doesn't make that big of a deal now because he's not going to be here. My mom let me know last night that he had already retired so I was like, 'OK.'"

Head coach John Harbaugh said that the Ravens would continue the search to upgrade their receiving corps just like the team does with any position.

"We'll add another receiver because we need receivers now to fill out training camp," Harbaugh stated. "We're looking for the best guys out there that we can – young guys, older guys, whoever that may be – to put 10 or 11 receivers into training camp.

"We've got some irons in the fire."

Almost immediately after Harbaugh's camp-opening press conference, the Ravens signed free agent Biren Ealy. The 6-foot-3, 207-pound Houston product spent the past two seasons with the Tennessee Titans, primarily on their practice squad.

Ealy joins a group that is headed by Mark Clayton, Demetrius WilliamsMarcus Smith and Kelley Washington.

"We're going to try our best. As long as we do that, we'll be good," Flacco said. "We've got a couple of weeks to get ready to see where our guys are going to be.

"We're going to have to have a guy step up, a couple of guys step up. In a lot of ways, it's going to be good for us. Derrick not being here is going to force guys to make sure that they know they're the guy right away. The more guys we have feeling like they're the guy, the better off we're going to be."

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