Ploy or legit? Derrick Mason shocks everyone, “retires” on his agent’s website

July 13, 2009 | Nestor Aparicio

UPDATED 9:11 p.m. — In a turn of events that can only be deemed “shocking,” Ravens wide receiver Derrick Mason announced his retirement from the NFL via a website called JockLife.net at precisely 5 p.m. tonight.

This much is assured: Ozzie Newsome and the Ravens had NO idea this was happening. And privately, they aren’t as concerned about the announcement as the fan base has been over the last few hours. Honestly, it smells more like a negotiating ploy than a legitimate retirement and Mason’s agent has already responded to the initial purple response of “no response.”

But, one of two things is happening:

1. Mason’s “retirement” is 100% sincere and the death of Steve McNair has affected his desire to play…

or

2. His agent, C. Lamont Smith, who owns the website that “released” the news is angling to get Derrick Mason the final pay day that he cried out for in another story on the same website back in March. See that piece here…

“For any player to retire, he has to send a letter to the NFL stating this. Derrick Mason has not done that,” said Kevin Byrne, the Ravens’ senior vice president of public relations.

Before I left Limited Access on AM 1570 tonight, I had Quentin Jones, the “reporter” for Jocklife on my show and he said that Mason gave him this statement “a few days ago.” Making the story even more fishy is that fact that two sources told me that Derrick Mason was working out at the team’s Owings Mills training complex earlier today.

This is what Mason told the website, www.jocklife.net, which his agent, C. Lamont Smith, apparently owns or has a stake in with various players and business associates. The domain name is owned by Smith.

For what it’s worth, the web traffic to this “sports” website is negligible per www.alexa.com.

“I have had a tremendous career and I played for two great teams, I had fun. In my career, I have been able to do everything but win a Super Bowl. I’ve had the opportunity to play on great teams and with great players. After 12 years, I have seen it all and done it all,” Mason stated. “Right now, I am content with the decision I am making. All good things come to an end and I am ready to see what else life has to offer.”

“I have been thinking about this since season ended. Emotionally I am just not that enthused. I have not been that enthused to get up and work out…it was getting to that point. This decision has nothing to do with the contract situation; I have made enough money, more than enough money. Emotionally there are things that are more important. It’s time right now. I don’t know what’s going to happen from here, but it’s going to be really nice to see what life has in store for me. What I want people to remember about my NFL career is that I played hard…played hard in practice and the game. I tried to make everyone better and would do anything to help.”

More quotes from Mason:

“I have left them in great hands,” said Mason. “Mark Clayton is a younger version of me and Williams can be a true player, he can be in the elite class. Smith, Harper, Washington, they all are a young group that can only be better with Joe in back field.”

The story also states: “Now that Mason has finished his football career, his only plans are to spend time with his family and possibly get into the radio business. As far as what else Mason has in store for the future, he simply proclaims, ‘to be continued’.

Every person I’ve spoken with inside the Ravens organization believes that Derrick Mason will be in uniform for the Ravens on Sept. 13 when the Chiefs come to Baltimore.

But these are STRONG words and emphasize (in writing no less) that it’s “not about the contract.”

So, take this story for what it’s worth and consider the source it’s coming from over the past few hours. And consider that Mason might’ve lost his heart for the game.

Is this Derrick Mason being “not enthused”?

Or is this another July ploy by a slimy agent to grab for money with a holdout before training camp?

Time will tell. But my “sniffer” ain’t happy with this one.

If Mason files his retirement papers with the NFL, we’ll know it’s official.

Until then, it makes for great sports radio during the slowest week of the year.

And it smells more like a holdout than a retirement until further notice.

But there’s no doubt the “next man up” theory will make for some interesting web comments and calls to WNST tomorrow.

During the slowest news week of the year we poor S.O.B.’s in the media were thrown a bone.

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