Late For Work 7/26: Could Beloved Ravens Return?

Plus, Ray Lewis reminisces about his career and the buzz on Mark Herzlich.

Posted by Mike Duffy on Tuesday, July 26th, 2011 at 9:06 am | Categories: Late For Work, Mike Duffy

Could Beloved Ravens Return?

As reports surfaced that Baltimore brass had informed Derrick Mason, Willis McGahee, Todd Heap and Kelly Gregg that they would be released – a situation the Ravens have yet to confirm – fans took to the airwaves and message boards wondering if their beloved players could return.

We won’t know until releases can actually happen Thursday at 4:01 p.m., but there seems to be a notion in some media outlets that at least one of the veteran quartet will be in purple and black again.

“There is a good chance Baltimore will try to re-sign some combination of Mason, Heap, McGahee and Gregg later at a discounted rate,” wrote ESPN’s AFC North blogger James Walker.  “But the four veterans will become unrestricted free agents and might get better contract offers elsewhere.”

Ravens General Manager Ozzie Newsome did make it clear that the club would be making decisions this week to get under the salary cap, which is set at around $120 million per the new collective bargaining agreement. 

“We will be making a number of roster moves in the next 48 hours that will free up salary cap space,” Newsome said. “This will give us the ability to make offers to our players we want to re-sign, plus put us in a position to sign free agents from other teams.”

According to Jamison Hensley of the Baltimore Sun, a source confirmed that the Ravens will look to re-sign Heap and Mason, two of the most prolific pass-catchers in franchise history, for less money.

For what it’s worth, Mason told 105.7 The Fan he’s open to remaining in Baltimore, as the 37-year-old has plans on playing for a few more seasons.

“This is just another chip on my shoulder,” said Mason, the Ravens’ all-time leader in catches (471) and receiving yards (5,777). “This is something else that fuels me and makes me try to be as productive on the field as I can, whether that be in Baltimore — and I hope it is — or somewhere else. [My return] is solely up to them. I love Baltimore. The city embraced me. The organization is great from top to bottom.

“My first thing would be: ‘Why not Baltimore?’ They’re primed to win a Super Bowl and I don’t want to go nowhere else but a place that is primed to contend for a Super Bowl.”

Looks like we’ll just have to wait and see what transpires during what should prove to be a crazy few days of free agency.

Ray Reminisces About His Career

Even though football is moving forward, linebacker Ray Lewis took a few moments to step back and reminisce on his career in an interview with Michael Kay of YES Network.

Kay, whose show “Centerstage” is a landing spot for many high-profile athletes and celebrities, focused on the Ravens’ Super Bowl run of 2000, which Ray spearheaded with an MVP season.

If was fun to listen to Lewis talk about his impressive body of work.  As a guy that covers him on a daily basis, sometimes you take his production in stride.  It was obvious that Kay was impressed when reading off Ray’s credits during the introduction.

And what about that record-setting defense that Ray led?  Remember, the unit allowed only one touchdown during the 2000 playoffs, which culminated with a title win over the New York Giants.

“For real, we set one goal as a defense that in the entire playoffs, nobody would score a touchdown,” Lewis said.  “Oakland didn’t score. Denver didn’t score. Tennessee? One touchdown.  Giants? No touchdowns. We had made our mind up that we had the complete defense to go win a championship.  That’s why we won.”

Lewis said he knew the Super Bowl was over at halftime, when the Ravens had a 10-0 lead.

“Coach [Brian Billick] was really trying to keep us calm.  He said, ‘Listen, I know we’re up 10 points.  I know y’all say just give us 10…’  But, we were planning the celebrations.”

Kay also played a lightening round of questioning with Lewis.  Here’s what Ray came up with:

Favorite Place To Play
: “University of Miami”
Favorite NFL Rivalry: “Baltimore/Pittsburgh”
Wackiest Teammate Ever: “Tony Siragusa”
Favorite Road City: “Tennessee”
Hardest Hit You’ve Ever Given: “Probably Eddie George”
Favorite Pre-Game Meal: “Egg whites and a banana”
Which Opponent Do You Most Admire?: “Let’s say Adrian Peterson”
Who Would Play Ray Lewis In a Film?: “Me! Who else?”
Best Advice You’ve Ever Received: “Always trust God”
What Advice Would You Give a 20-year-old Ray Lewis?: “I would never want to go back to my 20s, ever. So the advice I would give me is to be careful who you trust.”
Favorite Moment of Your Career: “Obviously, winning the Super Bowl”
Worst Pain You’ve Ever Suffered on the Field: “When I tore my hamstring off the bone”
Favorite Late-Night Snack: “Gummy worms”
If You Were Trapped in a Foxhole, Who Would You Take to Get You Out?: “Probably my mom”

Slow Your Roll On Herzlich

There have been several reports that highly-coveted rookie free agent linebacker Mark Herzlich is going to the Ravens.

Slow down a bit. Sure, ESPN’s Adam Schefter did tweet that Baltimore was a possible destination, and we’ll know by 10 a.m. where Herzlich will go.

But Herzlich is keeping things close to the vest.  Last night, as Twitter reports were flying from various accounts, Herzlich tweeted, “For everyone I have not signed with anyone yet and am still making my decision. Thank you for support and I will give official word tomorrow.”

The Ravens are expected to bring in a big group of undrafted rookies to beef up their roster to the training-camp allotted 90.

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