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Election Day spurs a few Ravens to dream of life after football

Election Day has passed, but a few Ravens players said they have considered running for political office once their football careers end.

"I would," wide receiver Derrick Mason said. "I would go back and further my education and then be in the political realm. I would love to shadow a politician and go on their campaign and run with them just to see how things work. Especially since I've become an adult, I've had kind of a soft spot for politics. I would run to be the mayor of Nashville. I think there's an excitement to go in there and be a part of changing your city or changing your state or changing your country. I think that's exciting. I think you get that same rush as a politician when you've done something, like getting a bill passed. You're doing all that you can to get one bill passed. It could be the biggest bill or the smallest bill, but once you get that bill passed, there's that joy and jubiliation. Politics has always been in the back of my mind. Whether it comes to fruition or not, I don't know, but I always keep an open mind."

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Like Mason, center Matt Birk represents the Ravens for the NFL Players Association, so he's well-experienced in the art of diplomacy. But Birk's desire to seek a government title is more lukewarm.

"I would never say never, but I don't know if it's because of my generation or what I've seen done, but I guess I'm like everybody else in that I'm kind of fed up with politics," he said. "If I get mad enough, I might."

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Athletes dipping their toes in political waters has become a hot topic. Former NFL lineman Jon Runyan won a seat in the U.S. House of Representatives, former quarterback Heath Shuler was re-elected to the House, and former NBA point guard Kevin Johnson is the mayor of Sacramento.

Cornerback Chris Carr said athletes have an advantage in that they're generally recognized by the voting public.

"Name recognition is a big thing. If you go to Nevada, Harry Reid's been in the Senate since I was a kid and you've seen Harry Reid signs your whole life," said Carr, a Nevada native. "So when it's time for you to vote and you see Harry Reid [on the ballot], you say, 'Oh, I recognize him. He must be doing a good job.' If you look at it, the overwhelming majority of incumbents win elections, and that's basically because of name recognition. So I think people say, 'Oh, we kind of know this person. They've been in the community.' So I think that's one advantage that [athletes] do have. And if you show that you're competent and that you're serious about doing it, then people are more willing to give you the benefit of the doubt over somebody else."

So with that in mind, running for office would seem be in the cards for Carr, right? Not so, he said.

"I don't have the political stomach to do it," Carr said. "You can't be completely honest at times. I think if it was local, like a local assembly or mayor, there's not as many of those political cat-and-mouse games. Running for the House or the Senate, that's extremely tough. It's dirty, and with campaigning, that's a lot of stress on your family. I just don't think that lifestyle is the best."

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