The NFL media storm is abuzz with an unexpected report on JockLife.com that signaled Ravens wideout Derrick Mason's retirement, ending an impressive 12-year career.
Still, the 35-year-old receiver has not yet filed his official retirement papers with the league office.
"For any player to retire, he has to send a letter to the NFL stating this," said Ravens senior vice president of public and community relations Kevin Byrne. "Derrick Mason has not done that."
Mason was actually at team headquarters in Owings Mills, Md., on Monday to work out and chat with several front office employees. In fact, Mason left between 2:30 and 3 p.m., just when the article on JockLife.com, which is time-stamped for 3 p.m., was posted.
"I have had a tremendous career and I played for two great teams, I had fun," said Mason, according to the story. "In my career, I have been able to do everything but win a Super Bowl. I've had the opportunity to play on great teams and with great players. After 12 years, I have seen it all and done it all. Right now, I am content with the decision I am making. All good things come to an end and I am ready to see what else life has to offer."
Mason came to the Ravens as a free agent in 2005 and quickly became the top receiving threat in the locker room. Despite not being recognized with Pro Bowl accolades, he has topped 1,000 receiving yards in three of his four seasons in Baltimore.
Last year, Mason led the club with 80 receptions for 1,037 yards and five touchdowns.
Mason's apparent announcement comes less than 10 days after his longtime friend - and quarterback during an eight-year career with the Tennessee Titans – Steve McNair was shot and killed in Nashville, Tenn.
Mason cited emotional reasons for his abrupt announcement, not anything contract-related. Even so, Mason is entering the final year of his current deal and has expressed his desire for a new contract.
"If we can get a deal done, that will be great," Mason said earlier this offseason. "But if not, then we have to explore other options after that."
And considering McNair's passing and the lingering effects of a painful shoulder injury that required offseason surgery to repair his labrum and scapula, Mason thinks his time is up.
"I have been thinking about this since the season ended," Mason continued. "Emotionally I am just not that enthused. I have not been that enthused to get up and work out…it was getting to that point. This decision has nothing to do with the contract situation; I have made enough money, more than enough money. Emotionally there are things that are more important.
"It's time right now. I don't know what's going to happen from here, but it's going to be really nice to see what life has in store for me. What I want people to remember about my NFL career is that I played hard…played hard in practice and the game. I tried to make everyone better and would do anything to help."