Recently, BR.com caught up with wide receiver Derrick Mason and learned a little about his life on and off the football field.
This is your 12th Opening Day, but does the excitement ever really wear off?
"I love Opening Day. You can't beat it. There's no other place you, as a competitor, would want to be. I don't think there is any other sport like this one. You've got 70,000 fans, whether you're at home or away, and you feel that energy in the stadium. There's nothing else like it. It will never get boring for me."
As a fellow No. 85, how do you feel about Chad Johnson wanting to legally change his last name to "Ocho Cinco"?
"I don't know. I think that's a slap to your mother's face when you try to legally change your name. My mother gave me the name Derrick Mason for a reason, so I'm going to keep it. But I know that he does it all in fun. In this business, the more attention you get, the more money you get paid, especially the way he plays. The guy is unbelievable at that position. He garners the attention on the field. He's not just talking the talk."
What did you take out of your experience as an NFLPA rep for the Titans in 2003?
"It was a great experience for me. It allowed me to see how this Players Association works from the inside and how we implement things – making sure that the players' well-being comes first. Then you get an opportunity to see some of the older guys and honestly see the history of the game. Every player that can should experience being a part of the Players Association and seeing how it works."
You have said you are interested in broadcasting after your career. Anything specific?
"I enjoy radio. I have to do something after playing football, and I really have become a fan of talk radio. Sports radio in particular. I enjoy listening to it, and I enjoy being on the radio. I think in a little while, I might switch to broader aspects, like a little bit of political radio. But I enjoy it. It's fun for me."
What shows are you going to have to watch every week this fall?
"LOST. As soon as it comes back on, I am on it. That and Desperate Housewives. I've been a fan from the start. But LOST is what I have to watch; my heart is set on LOST right now. And, the creators of LOST have a new show coming out that I can't wait for."
What is in your sports memorabilia collection?
"I don't have much, but I bought Muhammad Ali boxing gloves as something special for my son. I got them the night he was born. My son would never get to see him except for watching old clips of him boxing. To get to own a pair of gloves from arguably the greatest boxer of all time and one of the greatest activists of his era is great. Anytime you can pick up memorabilia from someone like that, it is special."
Why do you write a Bible verse on your shoes before every game?
"I just try to pick a different one every game that speaks to me – something that gives me strength and motivates me. It's not just for the game, but for the whole week. I typically pick one out on Monday when we come back in for practice."