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Ravens wideout Derrick Mason, who is coming off his seventh 1,000-yard campaign, could be entering his last year in the NFL.
Days before the Ravens open their regular season against the Kansas City Chiefs, Mason hinted at retirement.
Could 2009 be his swan song, and can he close out his career with a Super Bowl victory?
Mason owns one Super Bowl appearance when he was with the Tennessee Titans in 1999, but hasn’t been back since. The 13-year veteran said his fire to return burns as much as ever.
“The hunger is even more now,” Mason explained. “I think I’m starving after not being able to get an opportunity to go back to the Super Bowl. We went in 1999, so, 1999 until now – that’s a long time to without even eating. I’m hungry right now. I think I’m hungrier than I’ve ever been considering this possibly being my last year. For me to win a Super Bowl – it’s a must.”
After catching 80 passes for 1,037 yards last year, Mason carved his name once again into Ravens annals.
He boasts the top three reception seasons in franchise history with 103 coming in 2007 and 86 in ’05. Fourth is Michael Jackson, who notched 76 in 1996.
In fact, Mason is one of the league’s most reliable targets. Since earning his first Pro Bowl in 2000, Mason has the fourth-most catches (743) and fifth-most receiving yards (9,453) of all active players.
As such, neither Mason nor the Ravens are concerned that the stalwart is heading into Sunday’s game following a three-week retirement prior to
“I stay prepared all the time,” Mason stated. “The brief retirement didn’t stop me from going out there and continuing to work out. I didn’t have so much stress on my shoulders. I was just working out freely and concentrating on making sure that my shoulder was healthy. I knew if I did decide to come back, which I did, that I would be ready, physically and mentally, to play this game.”