OWINGS MILLS — The Ravens are set to welcome their all-time leading receiver back for an encore.
Wide receiver Derrick Mason, who was released by the Ravens and signed with the Jets when the NFL lockout ended, was traded to the Houston Texans for a draft pick Tuesday night. This means for the second consecutive game, the Ravens will line up against Mason.
“Not very enthused,” linebacker Terrell Suggs said. “I play enough guys in the division twice. I didn’t want to see one of my former teammates twice. If he lines up out there we don’t want him to have too good of a day.”
It will be interesting to see how quick Mason catches on in Houston. The Texans will be without starting wide receiver Andre Johnson, who has a hamstring injury. It’s clear the Texans need some immediate help at receiver and some possible insurance for later this season.
Cornerback Lardarius Webb thinks that Mason, being a longtime NFL veteran, will be able to pick up the basics of Houston’s offense quickly.
“When a guy’s been in the league about 20 years, there’s nothing he doesn’t know,” Webb said. “There’s nothing he can’t learn.”
Webb slightly exaggerated as Mason’s in his 15th NFL season. But the point he was making is that when you’ve been in the league that long it’s easier to pick up a new scheme.
When the Ravens and Jets played on Oct. 2, Mason led the Jets in receiving with two catches for 37 yards. Of course, Jets quarterback Mark Sanchez was rattled all game, completing just 11 of 35 passes for 119 yards and an interception. In that game, Mason was seen in shoving and verbal bouts with cornerback Cary Williams and linebacker Paul Kruger.
“If it’s the same thing, it’s the same thing,” Williams said. “Mason’s part of the competition. He was a great guy here but now he’s on enemy lines. It is what it is so we have to go after each other.”
Cornerback Chris Carr jokingly said Mason must be out for revenge seeing that the Ravens have to face him in consecutive games.
“I think Derrick Mason said, ‘Who do the Ravens play next? Trade me there,’” Carr said. “He was pretty upset. He was fighting with Paul Kruger. He was upset, fighting with Cary out there. I think he wants some payback. But he isn’t going to get it against us.”
Birk fined $5,000
The NFL fined center Matt Birk $5,000 for removing a mandatory microphone that enhances audio for television broadcasts in Baltimore’s game against the Jets. Under the new collective bargaining agreement, either the center, left guard or right guard for each team has to wear a microphone for whichever television network is broadcasting the game.
Birk said it was a misunderstanding, that he took off the microphone because it was jabbing him in the neck. Birk will appeal the fine.
He already has a defense planned, too.
“I will tell them I have my sixth kid on the way and I need that money for diapers and Cheerios,” Birk said.
The Ravens saw the return of five players to practice, albeit in limited action. Wide receiver Lee Evans, left guard Ben Grubbs, safety Tom Zbikowski (concussion), wide receiver/kick returner David Reed (shoulder), linebacker Dannell Ellerbe (hamstring) and safety Haruki Nakamura (knee) returned to practice after missing considerable time before last week’s bye.
New to the list, but also participating in limited action, is running back Anthony Allen, who has a thigh injury.
Cornerbacks Jimmy Smith (ankle) and Chris Carr (hamstring) did not practice Wednesday. Smith did some rehab work off to the side of the practice field while Carr was absent from practice. Before practice, Carr declined to go into detail about his injury. But he said he won’t return until he’s 100 percent, hinting he rushed back to the field too soon. Carr initially injured his hamstring during training camp.
While Zbikowski was limited in practice, he did not participate in any contact drills. He has not been cleared to play Sunday. He sustained a concussion against the Jets.
By Jason Butt