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Derrick Mason could have remained silent regarding his rebuttal to ESPN analyst and former NFL receiver Keyshawn Johnson’s labeling of the Ravens’ wideouts as “bums.”
But that simply would not be his style.
Even before he was asked a question on Wednesday during media time, Mason launched into a diatribe that continued his remarks on Sunday calling Johnson on his statement.
In a conference call with reporters on Sept. 2, Johnson said, “You want a bum, you pay a bum,” when referring to Mason and Co.
“Damn Keyshawn Johnson,” Mason stated. “Keyshawn knows where I’m at, he knows where the Ravens facility is, so if he wants to hash this out man-to-man or stack up numbers, we can do that. Remember Keyshawn, you were a number one pick in the draft and I was a fourth rounder, and our numbers still pretty much stack up, OK?”
Mason said he understood that Johnson meant the entire receiving corps and not just him, but he had to defend Mark Clayton, Kelley Washington and Demetrius Williams as the veteran of the group.
“I took it as a personal shot, because I’m the elder statesman in the group, and I know the other guys, they’re not going to say anything,” Mason explained. “It’s like attacking me. You just don’t do that. If you’re going to attack the bunch, you’re attacking me, and I’m going to come back at you.”
Mason is also correct in his assessment of the statistics between the two.
Johnson was the No. 1-overall selection in the 1996 draft by the New York Jets. He was immediately made a starter and went on to catch 814 balls for 10,571 yards and 64 touchdowns over an 11-year career.
Mason was a fourth-rounder in 1997, but didn’t become a full-time starter until 2000. Considering the nine seasons since then, Mason has tallied 747 receptions for 9,500 yards and 49 touchdowns.
Over that nine-year span, Mason averaged 1,055.6 yards per season and 83 catches. If he maintains his averages, Mason will reach 830 grabs for 10,555 yards in 10 years as a starter at the conclusion of the 2009 campaign.
Currently the host of his own radio show in Baltimore, Mason is faced with the dilemma of maintaining his integrity as a member of the media while also being sympathetic to the rigors of being a player.
“It’s not hard, because if you played the game and you understand what it takes to play at this level, then you won’t disrespect a player like that,” Mason said. “Because you know that week-in and week-out, or day-in and day- out, these guys are working hard.”