Just hours after the lockout ended, Ravens fans were upset to find out the team, in order to cut costs, quickly got rid of a slew of veteran players.
Longtime defensive tackle Kelly Gregg, running back Willis McGahee and tight end Todd Heap were all sent packing, it seemed, in the blink of an eye.
The fourth guy joining that trio, however, was the sure-handed wide receiver who, for six seasons, was an integral part of the Ravens’ passing attack.
He wasn’t the most intimidating receiver to ever grace the league, yet there was something about Derrick Mason that made opponents take notice, and quarterback Joe Flacco take solace in when looking downfield.
During his time in Baltimore, Mason was the workhouse in an otherwise mediocre passing game. In 96 games, the 1997 draft pick out of Michigan State hauled in 471 yards for 5,777 yards, including 29 touchdowns.
Now, Mason is three hours north, where he was picked up by Rex Ryan and Co. in an effort to keep his career alive. And tonight, when the Jets come to town, it’ll be Mason’s first appearance in Baltimore since his days in purple and black.
The fact that Mason is coming back to Baltimore for one night is certainly not stunning news. When he signed with New York, it wasn’t too difficult to glance at the schedule and notice that the Jets would be making the trek down south.
Yet as New York Times writer Ben Shpigel found out, Mason’s return to Baltimore is merely another mark of perseverance from the 37-year-old. From his injuries with the Titans and Ravens, all the way back to backyard scuffles with his brothers, facing adversity is nothing new to Mason. In fact, it’s practically become second nature.