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Who Powered Through? Derrick Mason

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The Baltimore Ravens' Derrick Mason has been in the NFL for 14 seasons. At 36 years old,  5'10" and 197 pounds, he is far from an intimidating presence on the field, so his size has certainly not protected him from having his career shortened due to injury. Mason stays in great shape year 'round and is a student of the game, with almost perfect technical skills including route running and catching the ball correctly.

With 53 receptions so far in 2010 with three games remaining, Derrik now has had 11 straight seasons with at least 50 receptions and if he can catch at least 10 more balls in the next three games, that total will be 11 seasons with at least 63 receptions. He has just under 700 receiving yards this year and while he won't get to the 1,000 yard level, he has hit that mark in eight of the past ten years. If he makes it to 750 receiving yards, that will make 11 straight seasons at that stat level.

This week, Mason is on the Baltimore Ravens injury report with an ankle sprain, but you can fully expect him to be out there when the team hosts the New Orleans Saints in a critical game with significant playoff implications. When the Ravens traded for Anquan Boldin and signed both Donte Stallworth and T.J. Houshmandzadeh, one might have thought Mason's importance to the Ravens offense would diminish with so many other targets for QB Joe Flacco. However, Mason ranks third on the team in receiving behind Boldin (59 receptions, 811 yards, 7 TDs) and Ray Rice (57 receptions, 476 yards, 0 TDs). In fact, Mason still appears to be Flacco's "go-to" guy in key situations, as evidenced by his 16 receptions in the past three games, including six for 78 yards and two TD's in the Ravens 34-28 OT victory over the Houston Texans on Monday Night Football, and one was actually without one shoe!