Derrick Mason's Retirement from Baltimore Ravens Not Contract-Related

Jeff Wolfson@jeffw171Contributor IAugust 2, 2009

NASHVILLE, TN - JANUARY 10:  Wide receiver Derrick Mason #85 of the Baltimore Ravens walks off the field after defeating the Tennessee Titans 13-10 during the AFC Divisional Playoff Game on January 10, 2009 at LP Field in Nashville, Tennessee.  (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)

Derrick Mason may have stunned the Ravens when he retired a few weeks ago, but it didn’t surprise me at all.

As everyone can recall, Mason asked for a contract extension publicly toward the end of the 2008 season, was battling a shoulder injury and then on July 4, dealt with the murder of his good friend and former teammate Steve McNair. As is understandable, Mason wanted to spend time and talk it over with his family and probably began thinking about his own mortality.

I think the McNair situation is the reason Mason retired. Even if Mason does want a contract extension, and who can really blame him for wanting career stability so he doesn’t have to keep moving his family, he will still earn $3 million this year.

He isn’t on the downside of his career, but when someone sees one of their best friends die, it’s just not an easy situation to deal with and I truly believe Mason just wanted to think things over.

Additionally, I believe Mason wanted to be sure his shoulder injury was 100 percent healed. He is an athlete with pride and wants to be certain he is up to his standards of playing in the NFL. If this is one of his reasons, let’s tip our hats to him.

If indeed Mason did retire because of his contract, he would terrible had the Ravens offered him the two-year extension he desired and he came back.

What would that do for his public image?

Instead, Mason did something honorable. He came back with a burning desire to help Baltimore advance beyond the AFC Championship game this season.

We should expect to see the same Derrick Mason that has always played for the Ravens. I would expect Mason to go over 1,000 yards again and somewhere between 75 and 100 catches. That wouldn’t be bad for a man in his 13th season, would it?