If you could only root for one player wearing a Pitt uniform, that player would easily be middle linebacker Dan Mason.
Mason, the victim of a gruesome knee injury suffered two years ago against the University of Miami, spent two long years rehabbing in order to just walk out of that tunnel once again and don the Panthers’ helmet.
All the work was worth it as nearly two seasons after he was told he wouldn’t play the game he loves ever again, Mason made it back, playing in five games, recording 27 tackles and 1.5 sacks on the season.
But unfortunately the Mason story does not have the happy ending that it should.
Mason will be out indefinitely after suffering a lacerated liver in the Panthers’ win over Temple on Saturday.
He appeared to suffer the injury while making a fourth-down tackle on Temple quarterback Clinton Granger during the fourth quarter of Saturday’s game. Mason lunged to tackle Granger two yards short of the end zone.
Mason made his first start in more than two years at Buffalo on October 20 and tied a career high with 11 tackles. He followed that with a 10-tackle performance against Temple on Saturday, and with just five games and two starts, Mason is seventh in tackles for Pitt this season.
Pitt head coach Paul Chryst said that Mason is out for the season but he believes he should be back for spring practice, but that the main concern is making sure he’s alright.
Mason was starting on the inside for redshirt junior Shane Gordon, who was sidelined due to injury after the Louisville game. Gordon has missed the last two games after starting the first six.
Gordon is listed at first-team middle linebacker on the official depth chart Pitt released Monday. Redshirt senior Joe Trebitz is listed as the backup middle linebacker.
It’s a shame that Mason’s season is over after he worked so hard to get back on the field.
But don’t go as far to say that his career in a Panthers’ uniform is over. He proved the doubters once wrong before and knowing Mason he will do so once again.