Derrick Mason is a classic example of a rags-to-riches story. He came into the league as a fourth round pick, and was a punt-returner for most of his first several years in the league. And the thing about Mason, is that he doesn't play for lucrative contracts like Brandon Marshall, he plays because he loves the game, and wants his team to succeed.
When asked about free-agency, he replied,
"I don't think there was any other team that intrigued me more than this team here, For me to go anywhere else, it would have been a step back."
(More after the Jump.....)
"The crazy thing about it is that for a second, I allowed the media to put me in a box," he said of his retirement comments. "The only thing I kept hearing was, ‘He’s 36, he’s 36, he’s 36,’ and I kept putting myself in that 36 box. "But then I started to think… There was a word [said about] me a few years ago, and I was not just going to be a flash in the pan. That’s what I hold on to before I even started playing. That was 11 years ago, and lo and behold, I’m still playing at a high level. I hold on to that, knowing that you can try to put me in a box, but I’m not going to stay there. I know what I do in the off-season allows me, with the blessings that I’ve been given, to play at a high level. I feel 28, as opposed to 36."
"I’m worrying about this season, and I know that’s what the coaches want me to worry about, not the season after that or if I want to play for two more years," Mason said. "After this contract, that would put me at 37, so I can’t think about that. I have to think about the task at hand, playing this season and trying to win a championship. "I probably could [play beyond two years]; I’m not going to doubt myself. But do I want to think about that right now? No, because it’s a distraction to me and to the team."
Mason ranks first in franchise history with 4,975 receiving yards. He's the second all-time player in career receptions with 410 and 22 touchdown catches.
"When you look at the number of free agents have been brought into Baltimore over the 15 years that we've been here, I don't think there has been any of them that have been more productive over a span of time of five years," general manager Ozzie Newsome said. "We could name players that have been impacted the team, but not for the amount of time that Derrick has."
In my opinion, Derrick Mason is my favorite Raven ever.