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Harbaugh “optimistic” Mason will return

At this point, Derrick Mason seems to be one of the only people who doesn’t think Derrick Mason is going to play this season.

Ravens coach John Harbaugh spoke with Mason Tuesday and came away “optimistic and hopeful” that Mason will return to the Ravens.

“He’s ready physically. He’s in good shape and he’s healthy. He just wants to decide if he’s mentally ready,” Harbaugh said.

Mason has said previously his retirement was not related to his contract, although it did come up in conversation with his head coach.

Harbaugh said they spoke about “family, [Mason’s] contract, the team, his feeling about competing and playing, what it’s like to have a long career.”

Baltimore’s actions in the coming weeks will speak louder than Harbaugh’s words.

They seem unlikely to make a major move at wide receiver until they know Mason’s future. The Ravens will try out a group of replacement level receivers Friday, but any signing from that group will be for depth.

One logical possibility would be for Mason to return after the grind of training camp is nearing its end. Mason seems to be struggling with the mental challenges a NFL season presents.

“He wants to make sure he’s in the right frame of mind to compete at the level he’s competed at his whole career, which is a warrior-type level,” Harbaugh said.

It sounds like the Ravens are quite hopeful that Mason will reconsider his position. Until he makes his next move, they can almost proceed as if he never left.

“Up until Derrick officially retires, then he’s still a member of the Baltimore Ravens,” general manager Ozzie Newsome said.