Derrick Mason retired yesterday. He is my favorite Spartan football player of all time. We both graduated from Michigan State in the same year. He had a productive 12-year NFL career. I do this.
How can a football player, who is my age, who went to my school, in my class, be finished with his career already? It doesn't make sense. I remember watching his touchdown punt return against Michigan—maybe the most thrilling game I ever saw in person—and that was ... geebus ... 14 years ago? How old am I?
He was never the best player on any of his teams (and I'm pretty sure he never accidentally shot himself in the thigh), but he was always reliable and occasionally great. He returned punts and kickoffs and caught passes with competence, which is suprisingly rare these days. He played in a Super Bowl—one of the most thrilling games I ever saw on the TV—and two Pro Bowls and again, never shot anyone, which for MSU wideouts is pretty impressive. He was just ... good. For quite a long time actually and now he's going to retire (earlier than he needs to, by the way) and will probably stay retired and open a car dealership or something. That's pretty neat. And maybe a little depressing for me.
I wish there was a YouTube of the pass he caught—lying on his back, after a horrible Tony Banks pass went right through the hands of freshman Charles Woodson—to keep that game-winning drive rolling back in 1995. I guess you had to be there.
This should suffice for the moment.