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Friday, January 6, 2012
Mason: Leaders needed to step up

By Rich Cimini

Former Jets WR Derrick Mason was around for the first chapter of the team's turmoil-plagued season -- some will say he contributed to it -- and he sensed that "things started to heat up" in the locker room in October. Mason also suggested that the Jets' leaders didn't do enough to prevent the dissension from taking over.

Mason, a guest Friday on "The Herd with Colin Cowherd" on ESPN New York 1050, was discussing QB Greg McElroy's comments when he shifted into the big picture. He said McElroy probably offended the so-called "selfish" players. As for the others, Mason said, "You are going to say, 'Yeah, the guy is right.' Somebody needed to stand up and say it, and I just don’t think the Jets had enough of that during the year.

"The offensive linemen stood up and they spoke to the team, Mark (Sanchez) did it as well, but some of the other guys, the older veterans, they needed to step up and try to right that ship and I don’t think it happened on a consistent basis. Sometimes it's hard when you're losing because everybody is trying to figure things out and everybody is pissed."

Mind you, Mason lasted only five games before the front office decided it didn't want him around. They traded him to the Texans for what amounted to a bucket of Gatorade. The Texans loved him so much they cut him before the end of the season.

Mason was dumped by the Jets when they were on a three-game losing streak.

"It wasn’t as bad when I left," he said of the chemistry. "Things started to, you could see things started to heat up, the temperature started to rise a little bit because ... when you're losing everybody wants to start to chime in and point the finger and say what's wrong and what’s not wrong

"This was a team that a lot of people picked, after going to the AFC Championship two years in a row, a lot of people picked to go to the Super Bowl, and they just weren't playing -- we were not playing, because I was part of that team -- we were not playing the way we were capable of playing, and a lot of guys were frustrated."

Mason said he liked playing for Rex Ryan, but he could see how people might tire of his bravado.

"People, deep down, love that because he was able to back it up," he said. "Now if you can’t go out there and do all these things that you say, then people get tired of it. Either you start winning games or you shut up, basically that’s how it was. But I love Coach Rex, he’s a good guy, I think he’s a good coach. His thing, I guess, is like what Frank Sinatra (sang): He’s going to do it his way. And that’s the way he’s been doing it. Win or lose, he’s going to continue to talk, that’s his personality. I just think this year they just didn’t back up. Once you start it, you can’t stop it."