Notebook: Mason hoping for new deal, McGahee sideline

Street Talk Notebook: Mason hoping for new deal, McGahee sideline

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OWINGS MILLS — Rookie offensive tackle Michael Oher had to be an extremely quick study during his inaugural NFL practice.

Oher didn’t have much time to get his bearings before being thrust into the huddle immediately with the Baltimore Ravens’ first-team offense.

The first-round draft pick from Ole Miss operated as the starting right tackle at a full-team minicamp Friday because veterans Willie Anderson and Adam Terry were both out with knee injuries.

"It was amazing," Oher said. "I saw Ray Lewis across from me, so I was kind of excited. Me and coach, we worked on a lot of plays the night before, so I was comfortable. I know I’m going to work hard to be the best player I can be. I was very calm."

With the exception of veteran defensive end Trevor Pryce bursting past the 23rd overall pick on a swim move, it looks like Oher is off to a fast start.

"I thought he did well," Ravens coach John Harbaugh said. "There was nothing glaring. I didn’t see anything jump out that didn’t look right."

After battling chronic foot injuries last season, Anderson’s medical status remains unresolved due to a different problem now: sore knees.

"He’s working with the trainers, so we’ve just got to see what he’s going to do," Harbaugh said. "He’s got some things that just don’t allow him to practice right now or be out here."


 

LET’S MAKE A DEAL: Veteran wide receiver Derrick Mason is hoping that his lobbying for a contract extension will pay off in the form of a new deal prior to the season.

"I’m very confident that it will get done," Mason said. "I hope management has the same confidence that I have that it will get done.

“I’m not going to worry about it until I need to worry about it. Right now, I’m just concentrating on getting healthy and trying to do what I can to make this football team better."

Mason, 35, is recovering from offseason shoulder surgery, but led the Ravens with 80 receptions for 1,037 yards and five touchdowns last season.


 

He has registered a total of 183 catches over the past two seasons.

Team officials have said they’re open to the idea of extending Mason’s deal as he approaches the final year of his contract.

McGAHEE UPDATE: Running back Willis McGahee was sidelined after undergoing offseason arthroscopic surgery to repair his ankle.

However, team officials have said that he had a cleanup procedure on his knee.

"I had my ankle done in the offseason, keep the knee out of it," McGahee said. "I’m trying to get over that hump. I don’t know how long before I’m running full speed."

McGahee predicted he would be recovered prior to training camp.

After rushing for a career-low 671 yards last season while dealing with multiple injuries, McGahee is trying to get healthy and regain his old role as the centerpiece of the running game.

"Believe it or not, I’m excited about this season," McGahee said. "I don’t know why, but I am. Maybe because I actually took care of the little bumps I had in the road last year. It’s all working toward the better."

Ray Rice took the majority of the carries with the first team in McGahee’s absence.

UNDRAFTED FREE AGENTS: The Ravens signed a dozen undrafted free agents, including Florida State kicker Graham Gano, the Lou Groza Award winner.

Baltimore also signed: fullback Jason Cook (Ole Miss), linebacker Dannell Ellerbe (Georgia), cornerback Kevin Gerard (Northern Arizona), defensive lineman Will Johnson (Michigan), cornerback David Jones (Kentucky), wide receiver Eron Riley (Duke), center Greg Ryan (Western Kentucky), defensive end Will VanDeSteeg (Minnesota), linebacker-defensive end Luis Vasquez (Arizona State), wide receiver Isaiah Williams (Maryland) and quarterback Drew Willy (Buffalo).

Gano, who is competing with Steve Hauschka for the kicker job, VanDeSteeg, who saw action with the first-team defense at rush linebacker, and Ellerbe, who received a $2,000 signing bonus, seem to have the top chances to make the team.

INJURY UPDATE: Besides Anderson, Terry and McGahee, several other players were sidelined, limited with injuries or off-limits to contact.

That includes: wide receivers Mason (shoulder surgery), Demetrius Williams (Achilles’ tendon surgery) and Mark Clayton (undisclosed), tight ends Todd Heap (back), L.J. Smith (undisclosed) and Quinn Sypniewski (knee), offensive linemen Ben Grubbs, Oniel Cousins and Marshal Yanda (knee surgery), defensive backs Ed Reed (nerve impingement), Samari Rolle (groin), Chris Carr (shoulder surgery), Frank Walker (shoulder surgery) and Fabian Washington (shoulder surgery), linebackers Jason Phillips (meniscus surgery) and Antwan Barnes (left pectoral surgery) and nose guard Kelly Talavou (shoulder surgery). 

Nose guard Kelly Gregg and strong safety Dawan Landry, who were out last season with injuries knee and neck injuries, respectively, practiced without restrictions.

SUGGS ABSENT: As an unsigned franchise player, Pro Bowl outside linebacker Terrell Suggs wasn’t required to attend the mandatory minicamp.

Suggs has yet to ink his one-year, $10.2 million franchise tender.

Harbaugh said that he has been in touch with Suggs about football matters, leaving the financial discussions to general manager Ozzie Newsome and Suggs’ agent.

"He wants to come back, and you can bet on that," Harbaugh said. "He’d like to be here at practice, that’s for sure."

QUICK HITS: Four-time Pro Bowl fullback Lorenzo Neal, who started five games for the Ravens last season, has agreed to terms with the Oakland Raiders. … Middle linebacker Ray Lewis had the top line of the day when asked about new defensive coordinator Greg Mattison. "He’s so old-school it’s ridiculous, that’s what you love about him," Lewis said. "He’s like your granddad. It’s cool because he has a great personality about himself and his humble spirit is overwhelming." … Tavares Gooden lined up with the first-team defense next to Lewis at inside linebacker and displayed outstanding mobility after missing the majority of last season as he underwent hip flexor and sports hernia surgeries. "Tavares looked fast," Harbaugh said. "To me, he looked like a linebacker. He was really patient, stayed square, played downhill, stayed on the backside of the play. It wasn’t just running around like crazy. He played fast as a linebacker, which is good to see." … Newly-signed reserve quarterback John Beck is off to a good start, completing several passes on crisp spirals. A former second-round draft pick, Beck is expected to compete with Troy Smith for the backup job behind Joe Flacco. "John’s really smart and he picks up the offense quickly," Harbaugh said. "He’s been in this offense before, which probably helps him. He can really throw. He’s got a quick, compact release. He throws a good, tight, accurate ball."

Aaron Wilson covers the Baltimore Ravens for the Carroll County Times and the Annapolis Capital.
Photo by Sabina Moran.

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Aaron Wilson

About Aaron Wilson

Aaron Wilson covers the NFL for National Football Post as well as the Baltimore Ravens for The Carroll County Times and Ravens24x7.com. He has previously covered the Jacksonville Jaguars and Tennessee Titans and has covered the NFL since 1997.  He has won several regional writing awards, including, most recently, Best Sports News Story for the state of Maryland in voting conducted by the Associated Press managing editors.  More from Aaron Wilson

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