Mason An ‘Option’ At Punt Return

Derrick Mason was in John Harbaugh’s ear about punts, but he’s not the “first guy.”

Posted by Ryan Mink on Monday, November 1st, 2010 at 5:38 pm | Categories: Ryan Mink

Derrick Mason hasn’t returned a punt since 2004 as a member of the Tennessee Titans, but he requested the chance to make a comeback.

Head Coach John Harbaugh said Mason has been “in [his] ear” about returning punts. Baltimore currently ranks last in the NFL in average yards per return (5.7).

On Monday, Harbaugh responded to whether that’s a real possibility. While it appears unlikely, Harbaugh didn’t rule Mason out.

“I would say it’s an option,” Harbaugh said.

“He’s probably not the first guy that I’m going to think to put out there. But if it turns out that he’s the best choice, we’re willing to do it. I’m not anticipating it for Miami, but the fact that he wants to do it, I think it’s kind of neat. It says a lot about Derrick.”

Mason has a career 8.7 yard average in eight seasons as a Tennessee punt returner from 1997 to 2004. He has two career touchdowns and 1,590 career punt return yards.

Outside of Mason, Harbaugh said it’s a possibility that wide receiver Donte’ Stallworth would be the “best option.”

Stallworth last returned punts in 2005 and has a career 5.7 average. According to Harbaugh, the wide receiver has been fielding punts at practice for weeks despite not playing in a game this season.

Harbaugh said Stallworth’s foot injury wouldn’t cause coaches to be precautious and hold him out of special teams duty.

“I think if he’s able to go, he’s able to go,” Harbaugh said. “He’d have to look good catching punts in practice in traffic. He’s a good, solid punt-catcher.”

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