Print and Go Back ESPN.com: New York Jets [Print without images]

Friday, January 6, 2012
More Mason: I was a scapegoat

By Rich Cimini

Tired of Derrick Mason yet?

The former Jets WR, perhaps trying to make a late entry into the presidential sweepstakes, made no fewer than four media stops Friday. Appearing on Sirius XM NFL Radio, he claimed he was a "scapegoat" for the early-season chemistry problems. He also made some pointed comments about Mark Sanchez's leadership.

"No one publicly came out and said I was the problem because they understand I was never the problem. I was the scapegoat in all of this," said Mason, alluding to his October trade to the Texans.

Mason said he told Rex Ryan it was "unfair," but he accepted it.

Mason also weighed in on Sanchez, who suddenly is being attacked from all angles. For the most part, Mason had nice things to say about his former QB, but he also said Sanchez will be the key to restoring locker-room harmony.

"If you can't do it vocally, guys respect it more if you lead by example, and he was so up and down that guys wouldn't listent to him," Mason said, adding: "Had his play been superior as it was the year before, and the year before that, when he helped lead the team to an AFC Championship Game, then guys would have really listened to him."

Mason also said this about Sanchez: "The bridges aren't burned, they're badly damaged right now between him and some players or him and the organization and the fans. Those bridges need to start to mend this offseason. With some new faces and other new coaches, he can be successful. But he can't take last year's problems and rifts between the players, because if you do that, they're going to be in the same boat."

Mason said Sanchez needs to established himself as the leader, which is find to be an interesting comment from someone who wasn't in the locker room for the last three months.

"If they constantly fight him, I'm telling you, he's not going to be able to grow as a quarterback if someone is constantly fighting him for position on that team," Mason said.

Mason said he had no problems with O.C. Brian Schottenheimer, and actually went to Schottenheimer to clear the air after the Daily News reported that he was one of three players that met with Ryan to complain about Schottenheimer. Mason said it wasn't true.