Suggs, Mason: Training Camp Absentees?

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That was the warning given by Baltimore wideout Derrick Mason as he spoke to the media during last weekend's mandatory minicamp.

Linebacker/defensive end Terrell Suggs is also not projected to attend training camp, but his actions told the story.

As expected, Suggs was nowhere to be found at team headquarters because he still hasn't signed his franchise tender. For his part, Suggs has not spoken to the media for the majority of the offseason, opting to remain at his Arizona home to work out.

Mason, on the other hand, hinted at the chance he wouldn't be ready to play until opening day because of an offseason surgery that repaired the labrum and scapula on his left shoulder.

"I guarantee I'll be ready for the first game, that's all I can say," Mason admitted. "Everything else, we'll play by ear."

The 13-year veteran originally injured his shoulder in Week 10 against the Houston Texans, but continued to play through the pain. There were times when Mason could barely move his arm when he ran or extended his hands to catch a high pass from quarterback Joe Flacco.

Mason, who led the Ravens with 80 receptions for 1,037 yards and five touchdowns, even had to leave a matchup against the Dallas Cowboys on Dec. 20 three times. He still caught a touchdown in that game.

Baltimore knew Mason would need surgery when the season ended, but the extent of the damage was unexpected.

"It turned out to be a little bit more than what we anticipated," Mason said of his visit to a specialist in San Francisco. "But, great doctors, they find a way to mend you back so you can get back on the field as quickly as possible."

Suggs' outcome is more predictable.

For the second consecutive year, Suggs did not attend the mandatory camp because he had not inked his tender. The Ravens are still hoping to hammer out a long-term deal with Suggs, a three-time Pro Bowler and former NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year, but they must do so before July 22.

That is the last day a franchise player's team can sign them for multiple years. If not, the franchised player can only sign their one-year contract.

Even though Suggs was not on campus, head coach John Harbaugh was confident that the linebacker wanted to be there. Harbaugh said he would leave the negotiations for general manager Ozzie Newsome.

"That's being worked out between his agent and Ozzie," Harbaugh said Friday. "Football-wise, we're in contact with him. He wants to come back, and you can bet on that. He'd like to be at practice, that's for sure."

What could a Mason and Suggs-less offseason mean for the Ravens?

For starters, it will provide an opportunity for a few young prospects to get noticed.

It's highly, highly doubtful that any of those players would unseat Mason or Suggs with the first unit, but the depth behind them is currently unsettled.

With Mason watching from the sidelines all weekend, along with fellow receivers Mark Clayton and Demetrius Williams, there were more reps to go around to the Ravens' large stable of wideouts. Marcus SmithMarcus Maxwell and Justin Harper seemed to stand out the most of that group.

As for Suggs' outside linebacker position, rookie free agent William VanDeSteeg initially started in place of No. 55, curiously topping second-round draft pick Paul Kruger, who played with the second team.

If Suggs does get a deal done by July 22, he'll be ready to go for training camp in late August at the latest. If not, though, the Ravens could see a repeat from last year, when a 27-day holdout ended with Suggs rejoining the team two days after camp broke.

Mason's status is even muddier. As the shoulder heals, all eyes will be on the Ravens' top wideout.

"I really don't know," he said. "The only thing I can say for certain, well not even for certain, but if everything continues to progress the way it has been, I'll be ready for the first game."

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