Late for Work 1/27: Mason Undergoes Pair of Surgeries

Plus Lewis calls out Cromartie, Willis poses nude for PETA and no official word on Austin.

Posted by Sarah Ellison on Thursday, January 27th, 2011 at 9:30 am | Categories: Late For Work, Sarah Ellison

Mason Undergoes Pair of Surgeries

Ravens receiver Derrick Mason underwent a pair of successful surgeries to mend ailments sustained during his 14th season in the NFL, according to MASN’s Jen Royle.

Mason had surgery to repair a hernia and a broken finger, the report stated.

Early last season, the 37 year old told reporters that he initially injured his pinkie in Week 6 against the New England Patriots, had a pin put in it during the bye week and then broke it again in the Ravens Week 10 loss to the Atlanta Falcons.

Mason finished second on the team with 802 receiving yards and seven touchdowns, but cooled off in the playoffs making one catch for 11 yards.

He is currently slated to return for his seventh season in Baltimore, reportedly set to make $4.5 million. Mason has not, however, made a decision on whether he will retire.

Lewis Calls Out Cromartie

Ravens linebacker Ray Lewis called out Jets cornerback Antonio Cromartie for his profanity-laced critical comments of NFL and NFL Players Association leaders, reported ESPN.

Although Cromartie was critical, Lewis wanted to send the message that players are behind Union Executive Director DeMaurice Smith.

"Great leaders are servants first," Lewis said. "That is who our leaders are. Players are not going to turn on each other. We are blessed with what we have and it is on all of us to keep it fair. I’m resolved to do that."

Owners and the players’ association are prepping for a potential lockout in early March if the two sides cannot come to an agreement on a new collective bargaining agreement. Free agent players like Cromartie won’t be able to negotiate new deals until a deal is settled and will be in the dark as to where they will play next season.

"To me, you need to stop [complaining] about it," Cromartie said the day after his season ended, "and if you wanna say you’re gonna get into a room and meet and greet, and say you’re gonna do what you need to do, then do it. Don’t just talk about it."

ESPN’s Jane McManus put in perspective how critical comments like Cromartie’s can hurt the players’ leverage in negotiations.

“It was a substantive breach in the solidarity the players are trying to maintain as the conflict is about to enter another phase,” wrote McManus. “A fractious group of players would have less bargaining power, as the league and union negotiate how to divvy up the billions of dollars in revenue that the league takes in.”

McGahee Poses Nude For PETA

As part of a People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) campaign, Ravens running back Willis McGahee posed nude in photos.

In a campaign photo entitled, “Ink, Not Mink” McGahee showed off his tattoos while holding a football made from synthetic materials, not pigskin.

“I don’t think people really understand where [fur] comes from," said McGahee in a video posted on PETA’s website."You don’t want to electrocute an animal for its fur … that’s not right."

The Baltimore Sun’s Jamison tweeted the photo to fellow running back Ray Rice asking, “What do you think of your teammate?”

Rice simply replied, “lmaoooo.”

“I hear you’re next!” wrote Hensley.

Nah not me,” replied Rice.

Still No Official Word From Ravens on Austin

Both NFL Network’s Jason La Canfora and National Football Post’s Aaron Wilson reported that the hiring of Teryl Austin as the Ravens’ new secondary coach is near completion.

Both reporters wrote that Austin and the Ravens have already agreed to terms, but haven’t signed off on a contract.

However, there is still no official word from the Ravens organization on who will replace newly promoted Defensive Coordinator Chuck Pagano.

"He’s a great coach and a great guy, and he’ll do big things in Baltimore," former NFL defensive back Marquand Manuel, who played for Austin with the Seattle Seahawks, told Wilson. "I’m just happy for him. He’s the real deal."

Austin, 45, was the defensive coordinator for the Florida Gators last season. Prior to that, he enjoyed coaching stints with the Arizona Cardinals and Seattle Seahawks.

Autopsy Postponed

The Reed family will have to wait until later today to get confirmation that the body pulled from the Mississippi River yesterday is that of their loved one Brian Reed.

Police said in a press conference that the Jefferson Parish, La., coroner’s office will wait at least 24 hours before performing an official autopsy. It’s a standard practice that allows families an opportunity to have an independent doctor examine deceased loved ones.

The St. Charles Parish held a news conference yesterday, where Ravens safety Ed Reed served as a family spokesman.

Reed clarified that when his brother jumped into the river trying to flee from police, there was “nothing illegal” going on.

Brian’s parents were concerned for their son and his mental health when he left in a family member’s car on the morning of Jan. 7. Thus, they called the police and asked them to find their son and bring him home.

"We knew; the parish knew; that day that my brother was having some mental issues and [his parents] contacted the police and had to report the car stolen to try to basically slow my brother down and bring him in, bring him home," Reed said. "Unfortunately, he thought otherwise and the officer was not able to apprehend him and bring him home. … It was nothing illegal going on or anything like that. It was just an issue where concerned parents were trying to bring their child to safety."

Reed was preparing for a wild-card playoff game in Kansas City the day his brother went missing.

Reed thanked the Ravens and even opponents who supported him during the difficult time.

"Being around my teammates, who support me through so much, and like my brothers are very spiritual men," Reed said.

"Even the friends I have on the other teams, Kansas City, the Steelers, those guys were just tremendous at showing support, knowing that life is bigger than the game I play. … We are human and regular people at the end of the day. We’re not immune from the trials and tribulations that go on through life."

The New Orleans Times-Picayune posted video of the news conference:

Quick Hits

  • DeSmithNFLPA: NFL executives reducing salaries in the event of a lockout? If we have a deal by Super Bowl, I’ll go down to 68 cents [Twitter]
  • Patriots linebacker Jerod Mayo is hoping to learn a lesson or two from his icon, Lewis, while the two are in Hawaii for the Pro Bowl this week. [The Boston Herald]
  • John Eisenberg gives his 2010 grades for the Ravens’ special teams positions. []
  • Outside linebacker Terrell Suggs was moments away from doing an interview with Marshall Faulk and showing off his biceps, but when the practice whistle blew, he dashed away before the interview even began.  []

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