OWINGS MILLS, Md. — Derrick Mason stepped into retirement Monday as a member of the Ravens, the team that provided the sure-handed wide receiver the biggest thrills and most significant friendships over his 15-year NFL career.
Mason, 38, played eight seasons with Tennessee before signing as a free agent with Baltimore in 2005. He never missed a game over six seasons with the Ravens and is the team career leader with 471 catches and 5,777 yards receiving. He also ranks second with 29 touchdown catches.
After being released last year, Mason split time with the Jets and Texans in 2011. But his spirit remained in Baltimore.
Sitting between Ravens general manager Ozzie Newsome and coach John Harbaugh, Mason bid farewell to football at the Ravens training complex.
"The decision wasn't hard to retire, and the decision where to retire was just as easy," Mason said. "My heart was here. It never left. My body left, but my heart stayed right in this room."
Mason thanked many of the people who helped him get through 230 NFL games. He also paid homage to late quarterback Steve McNair, who threw passes to Mason with Tennessee and Baltimore.
"I can't leave without thanking Steve," Mason said. "Him and I, more or less, grew up together in the game of football my first eight years and one here. Because of him, my numbers are what they are. Because he looked for me, he trusted me, he counted on me. I hope I never failed him. He will always be No. 1 with me."
ochocinco to MIAMI: Receiver Chad Ochocinco, a six-time Pro Bowl player who had 15 catches with the Patriots last season, signed a one-year deal with the Dolphins.
PUNISHMENT UPHELD: An arbitrator ruled that commissioner Roger Goodell has the authority to discipline former Saints defensive end Anthony Hargrove for the New Orleans bounties program. University of Pennsylvania professor Stephen Burbank said he has no jurisdiction over Hargrove.
BENGALS: The team reached a deal with third-round pick Mohamed Sanu, a receiver from Rutgers, giving it 10 of 11 draft picks under contract.
CARDINALS: First-round pick Michael Floyd, a receiver out of Notre Dame, signed a five-year contract. The team also signed Oklahoma cornerback Jamell Fleming, its third-round pick, to a four-year deal. … Defensive end Vonnie Holliday was re-signed to a one-year contract. Terms were not disclosed.
COWBOYS: The club brought back tackle Pat McQuistan two years after trading him to the Dolphins.
GIANTS: Starting tight end Jake Ballard was waived after he failed a physical exam. Ballard, who had 38 catches for 604 yards and four touchdowns last season, tore the anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee during the Super Bowl.
JAGUARS: General manager Gene Smith said the team has no plans to renegotiate running back Maurice Jones-Drew's current contract. "Obviously, he has expressed that he would like to renegotiate and we have expressed again that we feel he has a contract with two years left that we expect him to fulfill those obligations," Smith said.
VIKINGS: The NFL suspended wide receiver Jerome Simpson for the first three games of the 2012 season for violating the league's substance abuse policy.