The Ravens along with general manager Ozzie Newsome and head coach John Harbaugh will welcome Derrick Mason into the newly named Under Armour Performance Center for one last time.
After a long, 15-year career in the NFL, Mason, who announced his retirement in January, is expected to do so as a member of the Baltimore Ravens.
After spending eight years with the Tennessee Titans, Mason signed with the Ravens in 2005 as an unrestricted free agent. For those following the NFL at that time, getting used to Mason in another uniform was something that was going to take some time.
Mason made his impression in Baltimore and exceeded expectations as he now owns the franchise records in catches (471), receiving yards (5,777) and receptions in a single season (103).
Joe Flacco’s adaptation to the fast paced NFL wouldn’t have been the same or as successful without Mason who became Flacco’s safety blanket for the first four years of his career.
Mason wore his heart and emotions on his sleeve and was nothing short of a warrior on the gridiron. No matter which parts under his uniform were battered and bruised, Mason continued to play through injury to help his team win. On multiple occasions, Mason played with one shoulder as the other was repeatedly dislocated throughout multiple games.
Physical pain was something that would never derail Mason’s career but the emotional pain following the death of former team mate and close friend, Steve McNair was too big for Mason to bare. Following the shooting death of McNair on July 4th, 2009, Mason announced that he would be stepping away from football.
Fortunately for Ravens fans, Mason returned to the team as Joe Flacco’s go-to-guy.
Unfortunately, Mason’s career in Baltimore ended earlier than he and many of the fans had hoped. In one of the most emotional days in franchise history, Mason joined other fan-favorites, Todd Heap, Kelly Gregg and Willis McGahee in the unemployment line as they became salary cap casualties following the lockout.
Mason’s services were enlisted by the New York Jets and it was with them that one of Mason’s most effective weapons (his mouth) would upset the same fan base that cheered him just the season before.
Upset and taking his release personal led Mason to say that the Jets give him the best chance to win a Super Bowl, much to the distaste of fans in Baltimore.
Mason’s comments led him to being booed twice as he returned to M&T Bank Stadium as a member of the Jets and also with the Houston Texans following a trade.
The end of Mason’s career was anything but storybook yet his accomplishments are certainly noteworthy. His decision to retire as a Raven should be flattering to the football fans of Baltimore. His actions speak volumes to what the Ravens franchise meant to him in his career and how much fun he had during his tenure in Charm City.
Mason is a sure-shot future member of the Ravens’ Ring of Honor and should have a halftime ceremony planned for him at some point this upcoming season. On a team where defense is king, his play on offense defined what it meant to “Play Like A Raven.”
Mason’s contributions both on and off the field are extremely commendable and the Ravens franchise will honor him accordingly.
Receiving Yards: 12,061
Receiving Touchdowns: 66