Although it's possible that they won't need to win this game if they clinch the sixth AFC playoff berth if the New England Patriots lose to the Buffalo Bills prior to the Ravens' kickoff, Mason isn't planning on resting his shoulder for the postseason.
He wants to set a strong example for his five-year-old son, Derrick II.
"I've always been this way, I like to go out there because I've got kids and one day my son will want to play sports," Mason said Tuesday. "I can then look back and reminisce with him that your old dad played through some tough ones. That will be motivation for him for whatever he's going through. He can look back and say, 'If my father can do it, I can do it.'"
Mason caught six passes for 66 yards and a touchdown in a 33-24 victory over the Dallas Cowboys despite aggravating his shoulder injury in the first half. Throughout the game, he was hardly able to lift his arm to run or extend to catch the football.
His teammates weren't surprised that he kept coming back after exiting the game three times.
"I knew he was going to do that," center Jason Brown said. "It might have been a surprise to you all, but. knowing Derrick's heart and how dedicated he is to our team and what we're trying to do right now, I knew that nothing short of him having a heart attack or having to undergo surgery at that moment could keep him off the football field."
In his 12th season, Mason hasn't missed a start in 106 consecutive games. So, sitting out against Jacksonville regardless of the stakes wouldn't sit well with him.
"I don't think I've ever been in a situation because of an injury or because we've clinched a playoff berth that I've sat out a game," Mason said. "I still plan on going out here and being out there with the offense.
"I really enjoy the pure competitiveness of the game. That's what motivates me. I think you play better when your back is against the wall or when you're dealing with things, whether it's physical, mental or whatever."
Mason leads the Ravens with 74 receptions for 960 yards and five touchdowns. The 34-year-old two-time Pro Bowl selection is determined to will the Ravens into the playoffs despite the agony of a shoulder that may or may not require offseason surgical repair.
"I'm not going to have surgery just for the sake of having surgery," Mason said. "If it's going to heal on its own, it's going to heal on its own."
Mason has to be cautious off the field, too. Derrick II likes to roughhouse with his dad.
"My son runs up and hits me and wants to do so many things, but I have to tell him that dad's arm hurts," Mason said. "I think he realizes it now, but, at the same time, he's just a boy. I've got to just be careful this Christmas, so my wife will do most of the wrapping, whic h she does most of every year anyway."
TRAINING ROOM: Offensive tackle Willie Anderson pretty much guaranteed he would play in Sunday's game despite a sprained left ankle suffered against the Cowboys during an awkward fall after being hit from behind.
"I'm going to be there," said Anderson, who returned to play after being carted off the field. "It just hurt like hell. I thought I did something serious the way it was hurting and the way I got hit, but the X-rays and everything was cool. It somewhat limited some things I couldn't do in the game, so I came in just on certain packages."
Cornerback Samari Rolle (sprained foot) and rookie running back Ray Rice (calf contusion) are recovering from injuries and may play this week, too.
LOCK IT UP: Harbaugh predicted that the Patriots will avoid being upset by the Bills.
"New England is going to win a football game, we know that," Harbaugh said. "Everybody knows that. So, we're going out there to win our football game. That's what we need to take care of, and we don't need anybody else to get us in the playoffs. That's our job to take care of that."
Harbaugh won't make any friends in upstate New York with his opinion, but he sounds certain about his prognosticating skills.
"The lock of the week," he said. "Book it."
Meanwhile, Harbaugh said he won't take any special measures to prevent players from following the Patriots-Bills game.
"There are no televisions in the locker room, so I'm sure they'll sneak into the equipment room or whatever and take a look," he said. "You know what? That's OK. Everybody get ready in their own way."
QUICK HITS: Outside linebacker Terrell Suggs was named the Media Good Guy award winner by reporters who regularly cover the Ravens, and free safety Ed Reed was named the team's Most Valuable Player. Suggs was presented a roll of Bounty paper towels in a joking nod to his comments in a radio interview about the Ravens placing bounties on Pittsburgh Steelers running back Rashard Mendenhall and wide receiver Hines Ward. Suggs later backed off those remarks. "This is priceless," Suggs said. "I want to thank all of y'all who voted for me, and for all of y'all who didn't, I'm going to get you. I've been working for this for six years. I saw the names on the wall over there, and I finally got it. I'm going to cry. Y'all let me know if y'all need an interview." ... Suggs said that rookie quarterback Joe Flacco will no longer be referred to as 'Shane Falco' after the quarterback portrayed by actor Keanu Reeves in the movie, "The Replacements." "No more Shane, he performed like a professional last week and everybody was proud of him," Suggs said. "Way to go, Joe. Even I'm wacko for Flacco right now." ... The Jaguars lead the series with Baltimore 9-6, winning the first eight games of the series before losing six in a row from 2000 to 2003 prior to a 30-3 win at home in the teams' last meeting in 2005.
Notebook: Mason playing through the pain
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