OWINGS MILLS – Assuming the NFL labor dispute is resolved in time, the Baltimore Ravens will renew its geographic rivalry with the Washington Redskins during a nationally televised preseason game.
The Ravens are set to square off with the Redskins Aug. 25 at M&T Bank Stadium in an 8 p.m. ESPN contest. The Ravens have won four of six games over the Redskins in the preseason.
The Ravens’ preseason opener is on the road against the Philadelphia Eagles the weekend of Aug. 11-15 at Lincoln Financial Field.
It’s the 12th preseason game between the Ravens and the Eagles, and Baltimore has won seven of the previous matchups.
Then, the Ravens play the Kansas City Chiefs the weekend of Aug. 18-22 in their opening home preseason game.
The Ravens and the Chiefs have never played before during the preseason. However, the Ravens defeated the Chiefs, 30-7, during the AFC wild-card round Jan. 9.
The Ravens conclude the preseason against the Atlanta Falcons at the Georgia Dome. The game is tentatively set for Sept. 1.
MASON RIPS GOODELL, AGAIN: Ravens veteran wide receiver Derrick Mason renewed his verbal assault on NFL commissioner Roger Goodell, reinforcing his enmity for the league’s top executive.
After calling Goodell "a joke" during a recent radio interview, Mason appeared on ESPN First Take Tuesday and wore his comments on his chest as he sported a T-shirt that said, "A JOKE" across the front.
Mason said that his bold stance has drawn support from fellow NFL players, and he questioned what kind of contribution Goodell has made to the game.
Mason is an alternate union representative for the Ravens.
"I don’t think anybody disagreed with me," Mason said. "Anybody that understands what’s been going on in the game of football on the inside, not just on the outside. Anyone that’s been in it, they understand that. Honestly, I’m not saying this to disrespect him in any way.
"What has he done for the game of football to move it forward? Everything that has been done has been done by [former NFL commissioners] Pete Rozelle, [Paul] Tagliabue, people that came before him. The thing is, he hasn’t done anything significant to change the game of football."
Goodell has been a strong law-and-order commissioner and has taken measures to improve player safety with higher fines for illegal hits and the NFL television contracts are lucrative and franchise values are at a record high. However, the NFL is now embroiled in a bitter labor dispute with Goodell at the helm.
Mason has recently taken issue with Goodell emphasizing the need for blood tests for human growth hormone, a banned substance which can’t be detected through urine tests.
Mason thinks Goodell needs to focus on the collective bargaining agreement more than expanding drug testing for performance enhancing drugs.
RECEIVER VISITS: One of the Ravens’ draft prospect visits was with Abilene Christian wide receiver Edmond Gates, one of the fastest players in the draft.
He ran the 40-yard dash in 4.37 seconds at the NFL scouting combine.
Gates is from the same school that Chicago Bears speedster Johnny Knox attended.
As a senior, Gates caught 66 passes for 1,182 yards and 13 touchdowns and was named All-American and All-Lone Star Conference. Gates caught 49 passes for 702 yards and five touchdowns as a junior.
Gates turns 25 in June and had a rough childhood with his father serving time in prison for murder. Gates was kicked out of Tyler Junior College, but had no known issues at Abilene Christian.
He’s graded as a middle-round to later-round draft target.