Watching the Ravens/Jaguars game at the Stadium and noting the performance Derrick Mason was having in the game sure made me think. I said to my friend that when Mason retires he should certainly be a member of the Ravens Ring of Honor and potential Hall of Famer. I thought this statement was the feeling of most Ravens fans but I was sadly mistaken. The guy in front of me told what he thought of the comment. He mentioned how Mason was over rated and that he was not the best Ravens receiver of all time. I felt no need to respond – much like Derrick Mason – I let his play do the talking.
Derrick Mason announced his retirement yesterday after 12 NFL seasons, with his last four being played in Baltimore. In his time with the Ravens Mason failed to eclipse the 1000 yard mark only once.
Is Mason’s retirement legit or is his passion for the playing really gone? Few think his announcement is legit. If they are correct – then the Ravens Offense is in trouble- and fans will realize how good he really was.
Warrior is a term often over used in sports, but last season Derrick Mason was a warrior. Playing almost all of last season with a separated shoulder, Mason still started all 16 games, and had 1037 yards and five touchdowns. Despite his incredible season, many fans felt that Mason was no more than a good number two NFL Receiver. Mason, who had every right to feel slighted, demanded a contract extension from the Ravens but has yet to receive one. WHY?
Many people view his retirement announcement to be a ploy to gain leverage on the Ravens and receive his contract extension. Players do it all the time, many with no success. If this really is a ploy by Mason, I think it is going to work given the Ravens desperation at the Receiver position. If he does retire the Ravens are left with the likes of Mark Clayton, Demetrius Williams, Marcus Smith and Kelly Washington as their top four wide receivers. These are not exactly the kind of “weapons” that Joe Flacco needs or wants around him.
I myself think maybe some of the passion to play the game is gone a little. To me, Derrick Mason has always seemed to be a person with great integrity and a true team player. I think if it was because of his contract he would come right out and say so. Derrick just tragically lost one of his best friends. This would make anyone sit back and really access what they want in their life and are they currently happy. Only he truly knows how his shoulder feels and if he would be ready to play by training camp or the beginning of the season. He has worked hard and put every part of him into practices and games his entire career. Maybe he truly has had enough and doesn’t want to do it anymore.
I was one of the people clamoring for the Ravens to bring in a Receiver either through the draft or by free agency; but by no means did I question Derrick Mason’s ability. I gained a newfound respect for Mason after last season. I was looking forward to him retiring as a Raven, just not this soon.
The NFL is a business and fans often forget this. If Mason is using a retirement announcement as leverage against the Ravens, I have no problem with that. I do understand the Ravens need to negotiate with Terrell Suggs, but I feel that retaining Mason should be a priority as well.
Many fans were upset with some comments Ray Lewis made during his contract dispute. I wonder if Mason will get the same criticism if this retirement is an aberration.
Derrick Mason has been a model of consistency in his four years in Baltimore and many fans won’t realize how important he was until he is gone. Hopefully, for the sake of the franchise, Derrick Mason will be in a Ravens uniform next season. If not, I say “thanks for everything Derrick”.