I really don't understand why anyone feels the team will be distracted by the absence of Derrick Mason.
Rookie tackle Michael Oher's absence might be somewhat of a distraction because he is the top draft pick and expected to start at right tackle. He wants to be in training camp, but can't because of a contract dispute.
If outside linebacker Terrell Suggs wasn't in training camp, that might be a distraction because he wants to be in camp, but would be holding out because of negotiations.
Mason doesn't want to be here because he apparently has had enough, and wants to walk away. When that happens, most players, especially teammates, are happy for the individual, and I think the Ravens will be happy with whatever decision Mason makes.
Mason will make another announcement soon about what he plans to do. He needed this time away, and it will be interesting to see how much he misses the game. It might take a week or maybe two, but then Mason will know for sure what he wants to do by then.
During this time of year, all football players don't just miss the game. They feel the game. They smell the game. And when you don't have that desire anymore, you know.
Mason will know, and I believe he'll come back for another year or two.