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The Return (Again) Of Marcus Mason

Posted by Matt Terl on April 28, 2009 – 5:28 pm

So let’s see:

  • 90 degree heat? Check.
  • An expected onslaught of media? Check.
  • Fans becoming infatuated with players who will probably never contribute in the regular season? Check.
  • Running back Marcus Mason in a Redskins uniform? As of today, check.

Yep, it’s beginning to feel a lot like training camp around Redskins Park.

The Redskins were awarded Mason off waivers today, providing some depth at the running back position as we head into this weekend’s minicamp.

Mason, a local product from Potomac, Maryland, has always been a fan-favorite story and was something of a preseason star last year, toting the ball 66 times for an NFL-leading 317 yards. Not quite enough to inspire Colt Brennan levels of fan devotion, but certainly respectable, and I still field at least one question every week about why he’s not here.

For the moment, at least, those questions can be put to bed.

And as Mason returns (again), it seems an appropriate time to look back at an excellent 2007 profile of him in — of all places — the Potomac Almanac, the free newspaper that gave me my first job (delivery boy!) twenty years ago. Fittingly entitled “The Return of a King”, it recounts Mason’s rise from Montgomery County superstar to college star, and eventually to an undrafted role as a Washington Redskin. An excerpt:

AFTER A brilliant start in high school, Marcus Mason’s path to the NFL got a little bit off track. Mason set the Maryland high school record for rushing yards with 5,700. He went west to the University of Illinois with hopes of starring in the Big Ten, but two years in things had gone awry. Buried on the depth chart and reeling from what he called ‘off-field issues,’ Mason decided he needed a fresh start, so he transferred to Youngstown State University in Ohio.

A football program with tradition and history, Youngstown State, a Division I-AA program, was nonetheless a step down in the level of competition. It was a step forward for Mason, however. He was back on the field playing and playing well. He stayed out of trouble and started making headlines as he racked up 2,739 yards on 478 carries and scoring 31 touchdowns in his two years at Youngstown. Mason left the Penguins as their all-time single season rusher after he slashed his way through opposing defenses for 1,847 yards on 302 carries with 23 touchdowns his senior year. He also left without a concrete future in football.

His future still isn’t concrete, of course, but — at least for now — it’ll once again includes a stint in a Washington Redskins uniform. I guess, to paraphrase myself, the Marcus Mason crowd can start holding out hope again.

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