Here’s another debate I’d like to initiate between Derrick Mason and Anquan Boldin.
Last time it was about who should be titled as the No. 1 receiver for the Ravens, this time it’s about who has more flat-out toughness.
Derrick Mason, A History of Toughness
Let’s first take a look at veteran WR Derrick Mason, who is entering his 13th NFL season.
Mason’s toughness can be traced back to as far back as his college days in Michigan. Take a look at this video where Mason attempts to return a punt, but is leveled by defender Tito Paul.
Yeah, Mason got hit pretty dang hard. But the real shocker was how quickly he was able to get up and recover his own fumble. Only some serious toughness could enable him to immediately rebound off the ground the way he did.
Fast forward 16 years later and you will find that nothing has changed. Just take a look at Mason’s performance after dislocating a shoulder and his 62-yard touchdown catch after getting sandwiched, some of my favorite Mason-moments. His determination to never give up on a play reveals how he clearly possesses the heart of a lion.
Let’s face it— Mason is old. I’m baffled by his durability and high caliber performance at his age of 36. I mean, he’s not even big; Mason stands only an inch taller than me at 5-10 and weighs just 190 lb. How can such an undersized player survive the NFL after so many years and continue to play as if he’s 25? One word: toughness.
Anquan Boldin, Face-to-Face with Toughness
When the Ravens acquired WR Anquan Boldin, it was like a match made in heaven.
The 6-1 and 217 lb. receiver brought great size and strength to a generally undersized wide-receiving corps in Baltimore. His physical attributes were followed by an aggressive and fearless play-style. This combination could only translate to a physically tough player. Not to mention, he’s really buff.
Everything shown on paper, he is able to deliver on the field. One notable play gave Boldin the opportunity to truly prove his toughness. See for yourself.
The illegal blow that Boldin endured was so hard that one of his facial bones fractured. That’s no bump or bruise. He had to get hospitalized and undergo surgery.
After taking a shot like this, most players will tend to hesitate the next time they step back onto the field. Not Boldin. He returned with something to prove: his toughness. In his first game back, Boldin went on to catch 9 passes for 63 yards and score 2 touchdowns [he even rushed for 30 yards on a sweep play].
What a fierce mentality. Boldin had to be both physically and mentally tough to come back the way he did.
Tough to Determine Toughness
I really like both Mason and Boldin equally. It has always been hard for me to come down to a discrete choice when debating between these two receivers on any given topic.
With that said, my decision to choose Mason was a very difficult one. I may also be somewhat biased since I have watched Mason play for the Ravens the past 5 years.
Both have enormous toughness and both should get a 99 in Madden toughness rating, but the reason I choose Mason is because he is a little handicapped. Compared to Boldin, Mason is a little undersized. So I was more impressed with Mason because he shows toughness even with a size disadvantage.
This is just my opinion, and I would love to hear some arguments and thoughts on what you all think. You can comment below, vote your pick, or discuss this debate in the forum.