As a rabid Steelers fan, I’ve never had the inclination to cheer for Baltimore Ravens wide receiver Derrick Mason. Not on the field at least. But after listening to the veteran on several occasions this past few years, I’ve warmed up to him considerably, and I can see why he’s so well respected and liked by his teammates and colleagues around the league. Last week Mason made headlines when he called NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell a ‘joke’ for fixating on drug testing in the new collective bargaining agreement rather than making a sure a deal gets done at all costs. Hear, hear. Let’s see what Mason has to say a week later as the labor impasse remains in place. Mason joined 105.7 The Fan in Baltimore to discuss his comments about Roger Goodell being a joke last week, what the reaction has been to his candid thoughts about the commissioner, why he thinks it’s a positive thing that a judge has ordered the two sides to return to the negotiating table, who he believes is the greatest quarterback he’s ever seen, his take on Manny Ramirez retiring before being suspended again for testing positive for performance enhancing drugs, whether or not he thinks Manny is a Hall of Famer, how he doesn’t think the Ravens aren’t giving Ray Rice the ball enough, only trying to limit excessive wear and tear on his body.
Is there anyone he would like to rip to get things started?
“I’m not about ripping people man, I just state my opinion and keep it moving. That was last week, let’s move on.”
On what the reaction was to his comments about Goodell:
“I think it was mixed. I think some people said great job, I’m glad you said what you said, it must be true. There’s some people on the other end that said you must be guilty of something, you must be taking something. My thing was this, if you knew how our drug program worked and how testing program worked, then you would understand what I’m saying. I’m not hiding anything. I’ve been at this for fifteen years and never taken anything, so I’m all about testing, but the way our program is, like I said, you can be tested four or five times within a week or two. So get a better testing protocol and then we can move forward.”
On the federal judge mandating that both sides return to the negotiating table:
“I think it’s a good thing, just try to get both sides back to the table to try to work out a deal, because the longer this thing goes on the worse it gets. So I think it’s a good thing that the judge kind of mandate that both sides go back to the table. Because it kind of takes it out of her hands now; she doesn’t have to be the bad person making a decision. She’s giving both sides an opportunity to work this thing out and move forward.”
Who the greatest quarterback he’s faced or seen on film:
“Ooh, tough question. I think it has to be Peyton Manning. He’s arguably the greatest quarterback of the last 14 or 15 years. He came in I think a year before I did in ’98. And he hasn’t taken a step back since he stepped in the NFL. He’s arguably been the best quarterback from top to bottom in the last 15 years.”
Who he would like under center leading his team in a one game winner takes all against Manning’s Colts:
“Joe Flacco. Why not?”
His take on a guy like Manny Ramirez risking getting caught and hurting his team by taking performance enhancing drugs:
“You can kind of go on both ends. You kind of figure the guy was just trying to do what he could to help the team, but in trying to do that he kind of hurt them. His intentions were probably good, but what baseball is as far as this whole drug thing you had to know f you got caught it was going to be. So on one hand you say he tried to do what he could to help the team out, but on the other hand you jeopardize not just yourself but you put the team at risk because now they don’t have you in their lineup. So some people might say he tried to help us, then some people might say well you hurt us because you knew what the situation was.”
What his reaction is to Terrell Davis who recently said on their show that the Ravens were under-utilizing Ray Rice perhaps in an attempt to keep his market value down slightly:
“I don’t think they’re trying to keep the value of a running back down. They understand that when you have a back like Ray — a very good back — but to give him the ball 25, 30 times a game, it’s a wear and tear on your body. When a running back reaches the age of 27 or 28, they’re considered old and they’re ready to replace you because you’ve got a lot of wear and tear. Ask Terrell Davis. That’s what happened to him and he should know better than anybody. When you start getting the ball 25, 30 times a game, it’s detrimental to your health. That’s why teams now bring in two good backs. Now you don’t have to carry the ball 25, 30 times a game. I guarantee you Ray Rice, if you asked him honestly, he don’t want to carry the ball 25, 30 times a game because of the pounding that you take as a running back. You’re getting hit on every play. Ray can get 100 or something yards on 20 carries, that’s how good he is. He doesn’t need 25, 30 carries to get his 100 something yards. He can get it on his own in that 15 to 20 carry a game. Sometimes he might have to carry 25 or 30 times a game, but every game you just can’t do that to the back. And a guy that’s been running the football as much as Terrell Davis did, I’ve seen it firsthand with Eddie George, they ran him into the ground literally every day. The guy led the league in carries for like two or three years in a row with over 300 carries every time. And after awhile, it took a toll on him. And he was 6-4, 245 pounds. So you give Ray who’s about 5-8, 210 to 220 maybe if that, the ball 25 to 30 times a game for 16 games? It is not good. It is not good at all.”