Things haven’t gone exactly as T.J. Houshmandzadeh hoped they would this season.
Since signing a one-year contract with the Ravens just before the start of the regular season, the Pro Bowl wide receiver has seen limited playing time as Baltimore’s No. 3 wide receiver.
He was coming off six straight seasons of at least 73 passes and 900 receiving yards, but this year, Houshmandzadeh has only 15 receptions for 255 yards and two touchdowns with the Ravens. That puts him on a pace for 24 catches and 408 receiving yards for the season.
Despite all that, and despite the fact that he’s been fairly vocal in his frustration with how he’s being used in the Ravens’ offense, Houshmandzadeh says he enjoys playing in Baltimore, and would be interested in returning next season.
“I’ll worry about next year when it comes,” Houshmandzadeh said. “I’ve never been one to look ahead when it comes to situations like that. I’ll worry about that when it comes. I like being here. I like being in the locker room, but there’s a lot of things I’ve thought about. I like being here, I really do.”
“Once the season ends, one, are we going to be playing football? How many games will we play? Will it be a full season or a full offseason? And, two, you don’t know what will happen. That’s the most important thing - What do they have in mind for me?”
The Ravens could decide to cut ties with Derrick Mason after this season, despite the fact that the 14-year veteran has one year remaining on his contract. If they do so, Houshmandzadeh could be on their radar as a nice complimentary option to No. 1 wideout Anquan Boldin.
Houshmandzadeh signed a five-year, $40 million contract with the Seahawks prior to the 2009 season, and although Seattle cut him just one year into the deal, they’re still paying him $6.15 million for this season. Add in the $855,000 he’s getting from the Ravens, and the 10-year veteran is making over $7 mil this year.
When it comes to his next contract, Houshmandzadeh says money won’t really be an issue.
“That has really nothing to do with looking out for my family because financially I’m alright,” he said. “It won’t be a financial decision for me. My family likes it out here. My kids they like it out here and they’re used to me getting the ball and being a part of games. That’s an adjustment to them. I got to explain things to them.
“It will be, ‘What’s my role on the team going to be?’ That’s it. I just want to know what it is. They might not want me. You never know. It’s complicated. It’s like you want a girl in high school, but if she don’t want you, there’s nothing you can do about it. I’m not the only decision-maker when it comes to that.”
Houshmandzadeh has spent much of the season expressing his disappointment with how he’s fit into offensive coordinator Cam Cameron’s scheme, but he says he won’t waste his time making those complains anymore.
“That’s not my decision to make. Whatever they want to do, we’re going to roll with and we’re going to try to do it to the best of our ability,” Houshmandzadeh said. “I’m not going to get into all that anymore because it does no good for me to say it’s open or it’s close or I want more, or, I don’t want more.
“It’s useless, you know? Control what you can control. When the ball comes to you, make the play. When it doesn’t, you got to keep pushing.”