OWINGS MILLS — Emphasizing that he’s confident in his ability to play at a high level and expressing a desire to possibly return to the Baltimore Ravens after being cut, veteran wide receiver Derrick Mason said: "I’m not saying it’s completely over here, but, in a couple of days, I’ll be a free agent.’
Mason was informed by general manager Ozzie Newsome that he’ll be released Thursday afternoon when NFL teams are allowed to cut players. He’s due a $4.5 million base salary.
"The good part about it is I know I can still play football," Mason said. "That’s why I’m smiling. That’s why I’m happy. If they want me back, I’m back. If they want me back, I’m back. Now, some other team wants me that’s what you have to look at. My first thought would be to come back here. This has been my football home for the last six years.
"Why leave it so abruptly. I’m going to do what I can and hopefully they’ll do what they need to bring me back. If not, then I can still play football."
Mason said it wasn’t necessarily strange for him to soon be cut as well as tight end Todd Heap, nose guard Kelly Gregg and running back Willis McGahee.
He said he’s not bitter.
"Why am I going to be upset?" Mason said. "It is what it is. I have no reason to be upset. This organization gave me an opportunity six years ago to further my career. Only thing I’m disappointed is I didn’t get the opportunity to win a championship. Other than that, it’s been fun. This organization has been more than accommodating. I don’t think you could play for a better organization than this one."
The Ravens will save $18.6 million by making these moves.
"Hey, it’s football, it happens," Mason said. "I understand the football side of it. This happened to me six years ago [cut by Tennessee Titans]. I understand that side of it. If we can get a deal something worked out then great. I would love it. I would be the first person back here. I can say with a smile on my face, I can still play football."
Will he be back?
"My gut says I can still play football," he said. "Where? I don’t know. It might be in the backyard playing football with my son. That’s what it says to me."