Derrick Mason says he has "come full circle." Why? Because once Derrick's helmet had a derrick on it. Once, he was an Oiler.
OK, not a Houston Oiler, but he played his first two seasons as a Tennessee Oiler before Bud Adams' peripatetic franchise cut its final ties to the town it called home for 37 years, changing both the name and uniform design. Wearing No. 82 - the number he has reclaimed as a Texan after 13 seasons spent as No. 85 - Mason was a rookie receiver/special-teamer for the Oilers cum Titans in 1997, the first autumn since 1959 that Houston was forced to amuse itself without pro football.
"I remember we practiced here for the first two weeks before the team moved," Mason said, smiling. "I've come full circle. Everything happens for a reason."
Out of Mason's rookie class in Tennessee, he's the last one still playing - and has been for six seasons now. He's also the last player left in the NFL who called himself an Oiler. This speaks, of course, to his durability that after all these years he "returns" to the city that would - should, many would still insist - have been his first NFL home if not for Adams' wanderlust.