Thursday, September 17, 2009

Mason still dishing out verbal retaliation to K. Johnson

OWINGS MILLS -- Baltimore Ravens veteran wide receiver Derrick Mason wasn't done inflicting verbal punishment on former NFL wide receiver Keyshawn Johnson.

Not by a long shot.

In the wake of Johnson's recent criticism of the Ravens' wide receiving corps, Mason attacked the ESPN analyst immediately Wednesday before he could even be asked a question during a press conference.

"Damn Keyshawn Johnson, because I heard he said something else," Mason said. "Keyshawn knows where I'm at. He knows where the Ravens' facility is at. So, if he wants to hash this out man to man or you want to stack up numbers man to man and talk about it, we can do that.

"Remember, Keyshawn, you were a number one pick in the draft and I was a fourth-rounder. And our numbers still pretty much stack up. Let's go."

The reason behind the drama?

During a conference call on Sept. 2, Johnson said, "You want a bum, you pay a bum," in a reference to the Ravens' receivers.

They also drew criticism from former NFL receiver Cris Carter, an ESPN analyst like Johnson.

And Mason took it personally. He does appear to be enjoying the confrontation, though.

"I like it, it's fun," Mason said. "It's really fun. You're supposed to be building people up. A lot of people could have called him a bum, but they chose not to.

"If you understand what it takes to play at t his level, then you won't disrespect a player like that because you know that these guys are working hard. If you're playing at this level, you can play regardless if you're a first-stringer or a third-stringer."

During an 11-year NFL career, Johnson caught 814 passes for 10,571 yards and 64 touchdowns.

Mason has only been a starter since the 2000 season after initially working as a kick returner and reserve receiver for the Tennessee Titans. He has caught 747 career passes for 9,500 yards and 49 touchdowns.

Even though Johnson's comments were directed toward the Ravens' entire position group, Mason took it as an affront on his body of work.

"I took it as a personal shot, because I'm the elder statesman in the group," he said. "I know the other guys. They're not going to say anything. It's like attacking me. You just don't do that. If you're going to attack the bunch, you're attacking me and I'm going to come back at you."

Photo by Sabina Moran