Derrick Mason was back in his element today, back on the field for the first time in months.
The Jets' newest free agent acquisition participated in the morning walkthrough, but really got a taste of the action in the afternoon session, when the pads were popping and the Jets were truly in training camp mode.
Mason even caught the first pass from quarterback Mark Sanchez on the initial play of 11-on-11s, signaling the start of a new core receiving group comprised of Mason, Plaxico Burress and lone returnee Santonio Holmes.
"It felt good, getting pushed around a little bit, catch a few balls, run a few routes," Mason said afterward. "It felt good to be out there.
"Those guys made me feel at home yesterday, and today, nothing changed. Having Tone out there, Plax, [Jeremy] Kerley, the younger guys, felt good. It felt good to be back out on the field, and to laugh, and like I said to get pushed around and then catch a few balls."
Mason started to feel his legs burning as the afternoon practice wore on.
"I’ve just got to get my legs up under me," he said. "They started to go a little bit in the middle of practice. But I’m not worried about that. Give me a few more practices and I’ll be fine."
However, he doesn't need a few more practices to truly realize the Jets' potential offensively, not after he's seen their myriad weapons.
"We can be very dangerous. I think the key component is we’ve all got to stay healthy," Mason said. "If we stay healthy, I think we all have more than enough confidence in Sanchez that he can get the job done."
Mason was sporting a pair of pink cleats on his first day, leaving him subject to a little ribbing from (who else?) linebacker Bart Scott. The former Baltimore teammates are very familiar with each other, and Scott couldn't help but poke fun at Mason's attire, at one point even calling him Nicki Minaj, the rapper who's known for her pink outfits.
"Aw man, Bart always does that," Mason said. "He’s been doing that for the last eight, nine years since I’ve known him. He’s always going to crack a joke."
But Mason actually has a touching reason for busting out the cleats.
"I asked Coach Ryan can I wear them and he gave me the OK," Mason said. "So I’m going to continue to wear them. My mom is dealing with breast cancer. This is her second bout. It’s went into remission now and I’ll just continue to wear them throughout the whole season."