After a 12-year NFL career, Baltimore Ravens receiver Derrick Mason announced his retirement on the Web site JOCKlife.com, saying he’d “seen it all and done it all.” Maybe it was the news of his good friend Steve McNair passing away or Mason’s ailing shoulder — had shoulder surgery this offseason and was expected to miss a portion of training camp – that forced him to step away from the game. But the former 4th round draft pick by the Tennessee Titans in 1997, who was entering the final year of his contract and was scheduled to make $3 million, has called it quits.
Mason was said to be seeking a long-term deal from the Ravens this offseason along with rumors of a possible holdout. I guess once the contract talks never materialized, Mason decided to call it a day saying on. JOCKlife.com, “I have had a tremendous career and I played for two great teams”. The former Michigan State star added, “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.” His retirement will be another big blow to the Ravens, who already have lost several players and staff this year to the Rex Ryan (former Ravens assistant coach) led New York Jets.
The Ravens will now have to rely on receivers Demetrius Williams, Mark Clayton, and free agent signee Kelley Washington to replace Mason’s 80-catch, 1,037-yard, and 5 touchdown performance in 2008. A tough smaller receiver, Mason went from being a punt returner earlier his career into a dependable over-the-middle target despite his size (5’10, 190). Mason’s quarterbacks, especially McNair who he played with both in Tennessee and Baltimore, always seemed to find the diminutive receiver on crucial plays particularly on 3rd downs to move the chains.
The 35-year old receiver had his best year in 2003 for the Titans where he caught a career high 95 passes for 1303 yards and 8 touchdowns, making the second of his two Pro Bowl appearances (‘00 and ‘03). Mason leaves the NFL with career numbers 790 receptions (23rd all-time) for 10,061 yards and 79 TDs over 12 years (8 w/ Titans and 4 w/ Ravens). Don’t be surprised if you hear the Ravens associated with free agent receivers Marvin Harrison, Plaxico Burress, Matt Jones, or Reggie Williams in the near future.