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Mason agrees to five-year deal with Ravens

OWINGS MILLS, Md. (March 2, 2005) -- Derrick Mason has agreed in principle to a five-year deal with the Baltimore Ravens, giving the team one of the most desirable receivers on the free-agent market and filling the most glaring need of a team that ranked 31st in passing last season.

The 31-year-old Mason was second in the NFL with 96 receptions last season and has been a Pro Bowler twice. He was one of six Tennessee Titans released last month in a salary cap move.

"We were high on his list, and he was high on our list," Ravens general manager Ozzie Newsome said. "He was really the only receiver we have had any active discussions with thus far. What this does is we bring in a veteran receiver who has the type of attitude and type of personality that we look for in a football player."

Mason's 96 catches trailed just tight end Tony Gonzalez last year. They accounted for 1,168 yards and seven touchdowns.

Originally a return specialist, Mason has been a starting receiver for four seasons.

"The signing of Derrick Mason is the most substantial move we've made particularly in free agency, particularly at the wide receiver position," Ravens coach Brian Billick said. "When you take someone of Derrick Mason's caliber, you expect it to have an impact."

Newsome didn't rule out acquiring more help at the position -- the Ravens were the only team in the league that had no one catch as many as 40 passes.

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