Ravens Snub Proves Titans are Mason's True Team
Derrick Mason said the decision to retire as a member of the Baltimore Ravens was an easy one.
Eight years later, he might want to re-think that choice. Clearly, Baltimore does not properly value the contributions he made to that city’s NFL franchise.
Friday, the Ravens revealed their all-time team to help commemorate 25 years since their creation. A fan vote (more than 8,000 participated) determined which players made it.
Mason, who is the team’s all-time leader in receptions (471) and receiving yards (5,777), was not one of the two wide receivers selected. He lost out to Anquan Boldin and Steve Smith Sr. Mason fell nearly 500 votes short of Smith and was more than 5,500 behind Boldin.
(Mason) was the go-to wide receiver for Kyle Boller, Steve McNair and a young Flacco, helping Flacco get off to a strong start in his career. Smith was beloved by Ravens fans for his alpha-dog mentality on the field, but Mason was in the same mold.
Smith put up more yards total in his career and may end up in the Hall of Fame someday, but an Achilles injury unfortunately hampered his Ravens tenure. Mason, meanwhile, was ultra-productive throughout his Baltimore career, posting more than twice the receptions, receiving yards and touchdowns as Smith.
A fourth-round pick by the then-Tennessee Oilers in 1997 out of Michigan State, Mason played six of his 15 NFL seasons with the Ravens (2005-10) and averaged 78.5 receptions per season. He led them in receptions three straight years (2007-09) and set a career-high with 103 catches in 2007.
Before that he spent eight seasons with the Oilers/Titans, during which he made his only two Pro Bowl appearances (a return specialist in 2000 and a wide receiver in 2003) and in 2000 set an NFL record that stood for 11 years with 2,690 all-purpose yards. He has more receptions (414), more receiving yards (5,595) and more receiving touchdowns (34) than any other Tennessee player during the Titans era (1999-present).
Mason split time with Houston and the N.Y. Jets in his final NFL season (2011) but announced his retirement June 11, 2012 in a ceremony at the Ravens’ facility.
"There are not too many places you can go and be embraced the way the city of Baltimore embraced me," Mason said that day, via The Baltimore Sun. "I will be forever indebted to this city. The decision wasn't hard to retire and then the decision where to retire was just as easy because, like I said, my heart was here. It never left. My body left, but by heart stayed right in these rooms."
Apparently, that feeling is not mutual.