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Mason's Decision "Up in the Air"


If there's one thing for certain about* ***Derrick Mason's** potential retirement, it's that it's still uncertain.

The Ravens wide receiver, who briefly declared he was retiring last offseason before returning for another standout year, flip-flopped when questioned about hanging up his cleats Monday morning.

Unprompted, Mason first seemingly announced he was hanging it up.

"All right, I'm done," he said. "This is my last season, seriously. I'm done. I'm done. I'm going to say it again. This is it."

In his very next answer, Mason said his 13-year NFL career was "possibly done." A couple minutes later, Mason's answer completely changed.

"It's still up in the air," he said. "But right now, it's one of those situations where you go home and you think about it, and you weigh the pros and the cons. And if your pros kind of outweigh the cons, then that's how you make your decision.

"But I don't see any cons in this whole process, really. How many opportunities do you have to be a part of a great team, a great city and a great organization? Especially at the latter part of your years, you don't get that many opportunities. So, there aren't too many cons. There are a whole bunch of pros, so I just need to weigh it that way."

Mason said there was a 60 percent chance that he would retire. A couple questions later he said that giving percentages means nothing.

He talked about finding something besides football to do, whether in Baltimore or where he resides in Nashville. Then he said he hopes the Ravens bring back at least one or two familiar faces in the receiving corps and that he can't retire without winning a Super Bowl.

Mason, who is now an unrestricted free agent, was bluntly asked if there was any chance of him coming back specifically as a Raven next year.

"That's always a chance. I've enjoyed it," he said. "I enjoy this locker room, I enjoy the guys in this locker room, I enjoy the coaching staff. This city has been tremendous. They have embraced me."

Mason said he had not informed Ravens coaches or front office personnel of any retirement decision. But he added that his verdict wouldn't take long.

"I'm going to make it quickly and definitively and then move on from there," Mason said. "So, it's not going to be a drawn-out thing. If somebody catches me working out in another week, then I guess I've made my decision. But if not, then I guess my days of playing football are possibly over."

This isn't the first time Mason has wavered on retiring. On July 13, 2009, Mason made statements that he was going to call it quits after 12 years in the league. Then, after meeting with Head Coach **John Harbaugh** and Ravens executives, Mason arrived at training camp on Aug. 1 ready to play.

He said there was "something undone," specifically winning his first Super Bowl title.

Mason, who turned 36 Sunday, turned in another standout season. He hauled in 73 passes and notched his third straight 1,000-yard receiving seasons (1,028). He has topped 1,000 yards eight of his past nine seasons. Mason's seven regular season touchdowns this year are the most of his Ravens career.

"I'm not getting tired," Mason said. "I feel great, man. How many 36-year-olds do you know who runs around like me? Mentally, I'm not tired. Physically, I'm not tired. I've just got to weigh the situation and move forward."

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