WESTMINSTER, Md. -- The Baltimore Ravens probably figured their wide receiver woes had ended when Derrick Mason rejoined the team after a three-week retirement.
Mason, who led the Ravens in catches and receiving yards in 2008, has been solid in his return. Baltimore's two other top receivers, however, are too hurt to lend him a hand.
Mark Clayton will miss at least two preseason games with a strained left hamstring, and Demetrius Williams watched practice Thursday with a concussion. And newcomer Kelly Washington is just joining the mix after missing time with the flu.
"From what I understand, he coaches some Little League football teams and everything," Harbaugh said. "He had some insight into our receivers situation he wanted to share, so we took a couple of notes."
While Mason decided whether to stay retired, the Ravens were exceedingly short of receivers. Now that he's back, Clayton is limping and Williams is day-to-day.
Clayton's hamstring is the most serious issue.
|Rob Carr / Associated Press|
|Demetrius Williams (right) was impressive early in camp, but he joined the lengthy list of ailing Ravens wide receivers Thursday with a concussion.|
"It's going to be a few preseason games. We're not in any hurry to bring him back," Harbaugh said. "He had some significant bleeding in there. Of course you'd like to have him, obviously, but we have plenty of receivers to look at, so we're not going to be in a rush."
Clayton had 41 catches for 695 yards and three touchdowns last season. He knows the preseason isn't important, but that doesn't make it any easier to watch from the sideline.
"Not be able to do anything, especially as a receiver, to not be able to run full speed and show speed, it limits you and will limit our offense," Clayton said. "The practice is pretty much where you build your chemistry, and you build whatever it is you're trying to work toward offensively."
During Mason's absence, the Ravens held tryouts for wide receiver and signed veteran Drew Bennett, who retired just two days later. Justin Harper has looked good in practice, and Washington now has more of a chance to impress. But the Ravens are still thin at the position.
"I feel confident how we'll end up," quarterback Joe Flacco said. "It's always good to have guys out there practicing, so you can work on the things you've got to work on to be a great offense. But the most important thing is to get Mark healthy and get him back out there."
And until then?
"I feel comfortable with the guys we've got out there right now," Flacco said. "Everybody's improving each day, and that's the most important thing in camp. When we start the season, I think we'll be ready to put some points on the board."
Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press