Mason to return to Ravens; agrees on 2-year deal

After twice reaching outside the organization to enhance their

wide receiving corps, the Baltimore Ravens secured one of their own

Wednesday night: two-time Pro Bowl player Derrick Mason.

Mason, an unrestricted free agent, agreed to a two-year deal

with the team he joined in 2005.

Mason’s future with the Ravens appeared unclear after the Ravens

obtained free agent wideout Donte’ Stallworth and traded for Anquan

Boldin. Mason hinted after the 2009 season that he might retire,

and there was also a chance he would sign with another team.

But now he’s set to end his career with Baltimore, and his

return assures third-year quarterback Joe Flacco a familiar target

to go with Stallworth and Boldin.

“This is outstanding, just great news for the Ravens,” coach

John Harbaugh said. “Our coaches are happy. Derrick’s teammates

are happy and you know Joe is smiling. … We would have lost

something special if Derrick had gone to another team. We have

gotten better in the last couple of days.”

The announcement comes just two days after Boldin signed a

four-year contract with Baltimore. Boldin had 84 catches for 1,024

yards and four touchdowns last season with Arizona.

The 36-year-old Mason had 73 receptions for 1,028 yards and

seven touchdowns in 2009. He started all 16 games and became the

23rd player in NFL history with 800 career catches.

Before the season, he announced his retirement and then returned

during training camp. Then, after the Ravens were eliminated in the

playoffs by Indianapolis, Mason indicated he would again consider

ending his career.

Instead, he will spend the next few months preparing for his

14th NFL season.

“I’m getting myself ready to play football and help the Ravens

win,” Mason said. “But the first thing I am going to do is take

my family on vacation. I’ll see everybody back in Baltimore

soon.”

Baltimore entered the offseason intent upon improving at the

wide receiver position. Running back Ray Rice led the team with 78

catches, and no wideout besides Mason had more than 34

receptions.

That should change in 2010 with addition of Boldin and

Stallworth, along with the re-signing of Mason.

“We know exactly what we’re getting with Derrick and that’s

production,” general manager Ozzie Newsome said. “Every Ravens

fan knows what Derrick brings to this team. It’s reliability,

toughness, leadership, the fight to win, the want of the ball in

the clutch times. He has a two-year history with Joe that says ‘we

know how to produce together.’ They are on the same page.”

Mason played eight years with the Tennessee Titans before coming

to Baltimore as a free agent. He made the Pro Bowl in 2000 and

2003, and has 863 career receptions for 11,089 yards and 59

touchdowns.