Derrick Mason: 'I'm done playing football'

Derrick Mason: 'I'm done playing football'

Following a stellar career in the NFL that spanned 15 seasons, veteran wide receiver Derrick Mason is going to retire.

"I'm done," Mason told in a telephone interview. "I won't be playing football. I only knew one way to play football, going all-out and having fun out there."

Mason, 37, caught 19 passes for 170 yards this season with the New York Jets and Houston Texans after being cut by the Baltimore Ravens prior to training camp.

A two-time Pro Bowl selection, Mason nabbed 943 career passes for 12,061 yards and 66 touchdowns during his time with the Tennessee Titans, Ravens, Jets and Texans.

However, Mason feels he got a raw deal with the Jets and was unfairly used as a scapegoat.

Mason denied a published report stating that he along with wide receivers Plaxico Burresss and Santonio Holmes complained to Jets coach Rex Ryan about offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer.

Mason said he spoke to Schottenheimer personally after the report surfaced to assure him that he had no issues with him or his play-calling.

"I never complained to Rex or Mike Tannenbaum, and I hope that one day it comes out who actually did it, but I doubt it," Mason said. "I never went to Rex or Mike to complain about Brian's play-calling. I went to Brian and told him I'm sorry about all this stuff that's going on, but I'm not a part of it. We had a great conversation, Brian and I. We can talk as men. I respect coach Schottenheimer as a coach. Whenever I've had a problem, I go to the individual and we talk as men."

So, what did Mason make of the Jets' serious locker room chemistry issues that bubbled over in the regular-season finale against the Miami Dolphins when Holmes was benched by Schottenheimer after an altercation with a teammate in the huddle?

Mason said the problems only got worse after he left the organization.

"They were a mess," Mason said. "It was a cluster you-know-what."

Mason acknowledged that traditionally issues like the Jets' set of problems get ironed out behind closed doors and don't become this public in the NFL.

"You don't see stuff like this, it's not the norm," Mason said. "Before I left, you could see it materializing. Things heated up. If I was the problem, it would have stopped. If I was the guy complaining, it would have stopped. I wasn't the cancer in the locker room.

"I'm a competitor. If you don't want a guy who speaks the truth and talks out of love, then I don't need to be on your team. I was never the problem. if that been the case, they wouldn't be where they are at this point. And I'm not talking about their record."

Mason said he plans to pursue a career in the media. He has appeared on NFL Network and other outlets since being let go by the Texans.

"I'm spending some time at home and doing as much as I can to really get entrenched in some broadcasting network whether it be nationally or do something here locally," Mason said. "I enjoy it a lot."

Mason leaves the game with no regrets other than not winning a Super Bowl -- he played in one with the Titans when they lost to the St. Louis Rams.

"That's one thing, I leave it healthy and able to run and walk and not take a half-hour or 45 minutes to get out of bed," Mason said. "I can jump right out of the bed and go. I don't have lingering pains as of now. Me leaving now, even though it didn't happen the way I wanted it to happen, I had a good run. It was fun while it lasted."

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