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September 27, 2012

Mason’s Next Step

Filed under: Football,Players — Chas @ 2:44 pm

“It was an accomplishment. It was a step,” he said. “But it’s not my ultimate goal. My ultimate goal is to be out there doing what I used to do: starting and playing a full game. I’m not giving up this fight.”

Dan Mason, on getting live snaps in the win over Gardner-Webb.

Football is a violent, at times ugly sport. At no time was that more evident than two years ago when Dan Mason went to make a stop during the Miami-Pitt game. Routine game action that went horribly awry.

Mason’s right leg stuck in the turf, and he suffered a dislocated knee, tears to the anterior and posterior cruciate ligaments and damage to the peroneal nerve. Pitt trainer Rob Blanc said it was one of the worst injuries he has seen in 25 years at the school.

“I was worried that he was never going to walk again,” Blanc said.

Mason has worked hard, non-stop since then to get back to football.

Over the spring practices, he was an inspirational story that suggested the possibility that he could come all the way back to be on the two-deep in the fall. Reality, however, appeared in training camp. He did not crack the first or second-teams. Mason could have finished his degree on the scholarship. Still be an amazing story to come back as far as he did. Lead the team out of the tunnel every game.

But he’s not done. He’s not satisfied.





Great feel good story…
however, he may be asked to go on with lifes work after this year to free up a scholarship.

Comment by Joe D 09.27.12 @ 3:07 pm

joe d, I would hope Pitt wouldn’t do that to Mason. That type of stuff is for other schools they should let him keep his scolly and finish his time at Pitt, sometimes winning is not everything!

Comment by steve h 09.27.12 @ 3:25 pm

Love the determination…the true measure of a man is how he reacts to adversity.

Comment by Outlaw 09.27.12 @ 3:29 pm

I agree Steve H. It reminds me of an article I read on Jimbo Fisher at FSU extending a scholarship to a possible recruit even after he decided to quit football after multiple concussions. Coach fisher supported that very tough decision and said it was there for him anyway. As a freshman, he should really put the effort into that. In Mason’s case, it would be the right thing to do for the end of his career.

Comment by Pendlum 09.27.12 @ 4:03 pm

Mason has been on scholarship for 4 years…
I don’t see the value of the 5th year… he should have his degree by spring 2013… if not, pitt should pay for him to finish but not use a football scholarship.

Comment by Joe D 09.27.12 @ 4:08 pm

Before jumping on Joe D, read his second post on the matter. I don’t think he was suggesting that Mason not be allowed to stay in school on Pitt’s dime, but that he and the coaching staff consider whether he should remain on a football scholarship. This is comparable to the situation with Austin Wallace a few years back on the basketball team. Wallace was a top-notch student and one of the most popular guys on the team, but a severe knee injury basically guaranteed he would never play at the D1 level. He stayed in school and basically became a student manager, but I don’t believe he counted towards the scholarship limits his last two years.

Comment by Pantherman13 09.27.12 @ 4:26 pm

you may remember that some years ago, Walt Harris kept opn his scholarship offer to tow different recruits who were injured in auto accidents with no promise of ever being able to totally rehab.

Comment by wbb 09.27.12 @ 4:31 pm

Joe D, paying him to go to school would still be an athletic scholarship. Its clearly due to his relationship with the football team.

He, along with all who put their bodies on the line for our entertainment, deserve all that they can get from the schools.

Comment by Chuck Morris 09.27.12 @ 4:32 pm

Chuck,
no it wouldn’t… schools typically find “other” money… and he wouldn’t be on the roster.

Comment by Joe D 09.27.12 @ 4:51 pm

Let me expand..
Pitt has 18 scholarships to offer for 2013 class due to graduations.
Pitt has 17 verbals..
People are saying the 2013 class will be 25…
so, who are the 7 targeted to leave on their own or pushed out?? It would seem to me that Mason is a candidate.

Comment by Joe D 09.27.12 @ 4:54 pm

Way back when, players used to come to Pitt because of being able to attend Dental and Law school when they completed their playing time on the schools dime. This kid certainly should be on scholarship as long as he is making progress toward a degree.

Comment by Jimbo 09.27.12 @ 4:54 pm

Correction…
Pitt has 16 scholarships to offer in 2013…
they are at 17 verbals already

See pantherlair summary.
link to pittsburgh.rivals.com

Comment by Joe D 09.27.12 @ 5:07 pm

The question isn’t whether he should be on scholarship, but whether he should be on football scholarship. He can remain in school, at Pitt’s expense, without counting towards the football scholarship limit if he is no longer on the roster.

If they want to keep him on the roster and allow him to dress and occasionally play, then he will need to stay on football scholarship (or pay his own way, which I can’t imagine Pitt forcing him to do).

Comment by Pantherman13 09.27.12 @ 5:11 pm

We are not like outhers if he wants to stay
then we must keep him it is the right thing to do.

Comment by FRANKCAN 09.27.12 @ 5:34 pm

Mason left parts of his body on Heinz field. He made a commitment to Pitt, Pitt should do the same for him, it is dream to play again, later in life he probably won’t be able to walk, let him keep h

Comment by steve h 09.27.12 @ 5:34 pm

his scolly and try to play that is worth more than any recruit he has earned the right to play period

Comment by steve h 09.27.12 @ 5:36 pm

Great video, the guy is tough as nails and a great ambassador for the university. Thank you, Dan Mason for all you have done.

Comment by Vulcan Rob 09.27.12 @ 6:04 pm

JoeD Eliminate all RS JRs not on the two deep next spring. RS SRs in fall of 2013 will only be members of the two deep. Any others will be expected to have graduated by the end of the summer. You only get your 5th year if you are going to see the field a lot. That may change your math.

Comment by Pitt72 09.27.12 @ 6:13 pm

If I had to list who was going to be asked to move on that are current RS Jr… I would say..
– Mason
– Barthemley
– Rackard
I would say EJ Banks but I don’t see him on the scholarship list.

People are predicting 5-9 openings… I don’t see it.

Comment by Joe D 09.27.12 @ 7:10 pm

Glad i dont work for most the guys who
who have posted on Mason. The kid deserves
to stay on the team until his eligibility
is exhausted. This is not the NFL n

Comment by JR 09.27.12 @ 7:54 pm

Hate to see Dan ason leave the field after all his work. It is my belief he needs to stay as a player.

But if Dan decides to move on, Pitt can still give him a medicalal atheletic scholarship. The NCAA allows these scholarships. The students on the these are not counted in the 85 limit but are also not allowed to play.

The SEC conference teams are big into the medical scholarship for JR/SR who don’t make the two deep. Also they are big into asking kids to move on to their lifes work. How else do they sign 25 kids every year but never get over the 85 limit

Comment by PITT-cocks Fan 09.27.12 @ 8:02 pm

Damn proud of Dan Mason. It’s people like him who make Pitt look good.
I’m with Vulcan, steve h and JR.
The rest of you guys can divide the 30 pieces of silver amongst yourselves.

Comment by SFPitt 09.27.12 @ 9:20 pm

Who should Pitt tell to move on to free up some scholarships…

Currently, Pitt has 16 available.
17 players have committed…
so, who gets cut to make room for johnson, foster, etc..

Comment by Joe D 09.27.12 @ 10:01 pm

OK. It’s official. Joe D has officially ruined Pitt Blather

Comment by Dan35 09.28.12 @ 12:00 am

Dan Mason is a man’s man. Joe D. is well, Joe D.

Comment by gc 09.28.12 @ 7:11 am

I find this hard to believe, I’m siding with Joe D on this one!

Only requirement for full agreement with him is that, if Dan Mason has earned his academic degree by the end of this school year then he should graduate and get on with his life. If not, then I would keep him on full scholarship, he is an inspiration for this team whether he ever steps on the field again in a game or not, but we all must move on to the next challenge in life when it is time to. If Mason is the kind of person that I think he is, he understands that already too.

Only the best to you in the future Mr. Mason, H2P!

Comment by Dr. Tom 09.28.12 @ 8:38 am

Dan Mason is everything I want a Pitt student-athlete to be! My guess is that Chryst has never had a single thought of telling Dan he needs to move on after this year, and he shouldn’t. Mason deserves and will have a scholarship. Period.

Comment by JAM 05 Pitt 09.28.12 @ 8:39 am

It’s not a matter of numbers Joe D it’s a matter of principal.

Comment by steve h 09.28.12 @ 8:47 am

PSU lost their principals and look at them now, LET’S NOT BE LIKE PSU!

Comment by steve h 09.28.12 @ 8:54 am

I count 17 Seniors or Redshirt Seniors on the roster. Is one of them not on scholarship to get to the 16 that everyone is quoting as available for next year?

Comment by Hank the Tank 09.28.12 @ 8:55 am

Well guys – I’m going to ruin PITT Blather also then. I too think that Mason should be a candidate for moving on.

PITT’s responsibility, and one that they have strictly enforced in the past, is that a player gets a full four years toward his degree work as long as he meets the standards set for players in the program. At the end of this season Mason has had that opportunity. I don’t believe its a matter of principal as much as romaticism on the fan’s part. Principal would be that we fulfill the promise of an education in return for his committment to pay football for us. PITT will have satisfied that promise.

Now – if Mason missed semesters because of that injury and couldn’t get his degree in four years then I say keep him on scholasrship until he has the full chance at a degree and that well may be the case here.

So I have no problem with this staff if they feel that they would want that scholarship to use elsewhere. If Mason wants to be involved in the football program there are many ways of doing so – a grad assistant position would fit perfectly for him and may even be more effective on the rest of the LBs. Hell, we could even keep him as a walk-on for that 5th year if he’s intent on being on the team – he’d have to pay tuition though so that may not be feasible.

Look at the fact that Joe Trebitz – yes, the journeyman rsSR – has played in the first three games ahead of Mason. That speaks volumes about what Mason can actually do out on the field. The fact that his sole playing time was in the 4th quarter of a blowout with a 40+ point lead in front of a home crowd also says something.

Mason has topped out on his rehab – his injury isn’t ever going to get better as it is nerve damage that doesn’t regenerate itself.

That said, I also don’t have a problem if this staff wants to keep Mason on the roster for role model/leadership purposes. It isn’t that I want to see Mason off the team; it’s that I wouldn’t criticize this staff if they made the decision to use that scholarship elsewhere.

But let’s not kid ourselves – Dan Mason is never going to play meaningful snaps unless there are a slew of injuries in the LB corps.

Comment by Reed 09.28.12 @ 9:12 am

I’d love to see him move into the coaching aspects…maybe that is what he will be asked to do next year if they feel he will not be playing

Comment by Buk 09.28.12 @ 9:31 am

If keeping Mason means we lose out on Foster or Johnson, then I’m on Joe D’s side.

Comment by wbb 09.28.12 @ 9:36 am

just kidding!

Comment by wbb 09.28.12 @ 9:37 am

… kind of!

Comment by wbb 09.28.12 @ 9:37 am

Reed, it is a matter of principals, it just depends on what your principals consist of. Mason is a local kid, we complain that we don’t get enough local recruits, so what would Pitt be telling coaches,parents, and players if they don’t extend Mason’s scolly. Well Pitt offers you a great education and a chance to excell on the field of play, but if you are injured and are able to be an asset to us we will extend you a 5th year, if not and no matter how much effort you put into your rehab we will have to crush your dreams, sorry, but we did fulfill are minumum requirment so were good. That is what the “Fraud” would do. I hope that PC doesn’t, and he gives back to Mason what Mason gave to Pitt, everything he had, its not romantic its just doing the right thing.

Comment by steve h 09.28.12 @ 10:00 am

Whew….. thanks reed…
thought I was going to get the boot…
but it’s a numbers game right now with scholarships… I don’t know who they will cut, push out, or they leave on their own accord.
If Johnson and Foster committ… and the 17 verbals stick… Pitt needs to free up 3 scholarships per the Pantherlair scholarship board.

Comment by Joe D 09.28.12 @ 10:45 am

Reed has touched on all relevent points, the IMPORTANT issue here is, “does Mason have his education and degree accomplished at the end of this academic year or not”? Taking into consideration, the severity of his injury, this very well could have affected his ability to continue his studies full time initially after his injury. If he needs more time to finish up for his degree at Pitt, then I vote for him remaining on scholorship. His education is what matters here, not his football career.

Mason is never going to play football at the next level. Time for everybody to sober up to the obvious and deal with the circumstances of how Dan Mason’s participation in Pitt’s football program, come 2013, affects Pitt’s recruiting needs for the future.

I wouldn’t be the least bit surprised if Mason himself understands these ramifications and has mentally prepared himself to move on in his chosen career at the end of this year already. He might even consider it the best option for all involved, himself and the Pitt football program too.

Any sensible, mature individual could figure this one out on their own and Mason, seems to me, to fit both of the above.

Comment by Dr. Tom 09.28.12 @ 11:08 am

Dr. Tom wrote:

Mason is never going to play football at the next level. Time for everybody to sober up to the obvious and deal with the circumstances of how Dan Mason’s participation in Pitt’s football program, come 2013, affects Pitt’s recruiting needs for the future.

By that criteria, we should dump anyone who gets injured right? I mean, Tags should be gone too as his 4 years passed by…

Geesh, to paraphrase Sir Winston Churchill, I now know what you guys are…we are merely negotiationg the price at this juncture.

Comment by sfpitt 09.28.12 @ 11:23 am

Tags is on the 2 deep…
forgot to add Savage as a scholarship player next year…
so, need 4 players to leave program assuming landing Foster and Johnson plus 17 verbals.

Comment by Joe D 09.28.12 @ 11:47 am

Here is the quote.

“Churchill: “Madam, would you sleep with me for five million pounds?”
Socialite: “My goodness, Mr. Churchill… Well, I suppose… we would have to discuss terms, of course… ”
Churchill: “Would you sleep with me for five pounds?”
Socialite: “Mr. Churchill, what kind of woman do you think I am?!”
Churchill: “Madam, we’ve already established that. Now we are haggling about the price”

Comment by sfpitt 09.28.12 @ 11:48 am

Read what Tom wrote Joe…not what you think it said…Tags at the next level? Sorry, time is up.
You’re out.

Henceforth, you are Joe D. the “Socialite”.

Comment by sfpitt 09.28.12 @ 11:51 am

Altruistic thinking, by it’s very definition is idealism personified.

Unfortunately, the necessity of having to deal with the realities of the human condition invariably erode such thought processes by the very nature of the practical circumstances that must be considered when attempting to make this jumbled up mess called “Life” into some form of managable, coordinated existence.

In other words, “idealism” works well in theory but has few applications in the real world. And altruistic theology always comes to a emotionally conflicting impasse when the good of the individual vs the good of the larger group entity is considered.

In real life, compromises and sacrifices happen all the time, tough decisions to be made by those in charge, for sure, but sometimes people’s individual desires get subordinated for the betterment of the larger group. That is just reality.

Doesn’t make those who are negatively impacted martyrs, nor does it make those in power making those difficult decisions satans.

If you can just rationalize that you were fair and rational in the decision making process, then, at least, it makes it a little easier to still sleep at night. Yeah it sucks, but it is just the reality of “Life”.

Comment by Dr. Tom 09.28.12 @ 12:12 pm

Playing at the next level is not a criteria in my opinion…
The main questions…
– do you need the scholarship for incoming players
– is that player on the 2 deep
– are you better off with younger player at 2deep to get experience for years ahead.
I’m sure there are more..
I think Gonzo will be asked to leave… weatherspoon… mason… rackard…

Comment by Joe D 09.28.12 @ 12:13 pm

If Gonzo gets into any more trouble, then he is … gonzo.

Otherwise, he is only a soph (RS) and has a great deal of talent. He may be the current Dorin Dickerson

Comment by wbb 09.28.12 @ 12:49 pm

How about bad PR? Mason is a local story, as you put it Joe a feel good story. If Mason is forced to give up his scholaship you don’t think that the press isn’t gonna jump on that, now its not so “feel good”. If Mason is a good soldier and gives up his scolly and says he is doing it for the good of the team but was really forced out. His family and friends are going to know or his high school coach, then maybe we don’t get any Penn Hills kids and maybe it goes beyond that to other schools why give up 1 scolly for many down the road. PC has worked hard to get the local coaches trust why would he chance ruining that.

Comment by steve h 09.28.12 @ 12:56 pm

Let me be the first to pledge $20 to the ‘Keep Mason on Schollie but Don’t Lose Foster or Johnson’ scholarship campaign

Comment by wbb 09.28.12 @ 1:02 pm

steve…
if you watch the interviews of Chyrst on pitt website…
I think he is tired of answering Mason questions… he heard it all summer… it seems every other interview.
I don’t think Chyrst is worried about wpial coaches… not many BCS D1 players in the wpial.

Of the 157 offers to 2013 athletes… only 10 from Wpial… not counting 2 from Erie.

Comment by Joe D 09.28.12 @ 1:03 pm

‘Getting to the next level’ shouldn’t be a factor since 90% of these guys won’t ever sniff an NFL training camp. Most are just kids using football to get an education. This perspective is lost on so many these days.

College atheletics should NEVER be about a ‘win at all costs’ attitude. Sadly, too many people and Universities think otherwise.

Comment by pghFred 09.28.12 @ 1:03 pm

It’s a great piece on a great kid. That being said, I disagree with those people that think scholarships are for moral support. In life, one of the many hard lessons we learn is that you have to produce to get your paycheck. If he had been crippled til now, I think there is a case for a scholarship for the 5th year. But this is a team that needs to recruit more talent and many other teams play only to win. There are many cases of players suffering injuries that end their college career on the field. This sounds like he got 4 years out of it. That’s more than enough.

Comment by Pittisforreal 09.28.12 @ 1:09 pm

the football program at PSU had brought in $70 million in revenue annually (note the past tense – but they will likely stil bring in much more than Pitt). It is close to $110m at Texas … college FB is BIG business

Comment by wbb 09.28.12 @ 1:09 pm

@ pghFred,your quote, “Getting to the next level shouldn’t be a factor since 90% of these guys won’t ever sniff an NFL training camp. Most are just kids using football to get an education.”

I strongly disagree with your 1st statement. In considering why Mason should remain on scholarship for a 5th season or not, whether he has the potential to play in the NFL should definitely be “a factor” in the decision making process.

Making that leap to the next level can have life altering implications for those talented enough to do it. “IF” Dan Mason still had that potential, it would be unfair, IMO, to pull the rug out from under him and destroy that ambition by NOT giving him the 5th year of opportunity to improve his stock by his play next season prior to 2014 year’s NFL draft.

With his particular injury, that potential NOW is non-existent. However, what remains as another valid consideration, is the second point in your quote, and that I do agree with. An athletic scholarship being utilized as a way to a means to obtain an education at the university level.

Now if that goal has been accomplished by Dan at the conclusion of this academic year, then his scholarship has served it’s intended function.

As an example of knowing when to move on, just look at what Bostick is currently doing with his life and career. He opted out of his 5th year of eligibility because he had completed his career and decided to move on. I think it would have been in the team’s best interest to still have him in there as a competing QB for his final year of eligibility, but he decided otherwise.

The “individual” makes that type of decision of “what is best for him”, all the time. Dion Lewis did that when he jumped to the NFL two years ago after his junior year. Good for him, not so good for the Pitt football team.

Thats the way it is, life goes on. Look how Graham came on when that opportunity opened up for him accordingly. Life is funny like that.

Dan Mason will be just fine, irrespective of if he stays on the Pitt football team for one more year or not, just as long as he gets a fair shake and is permitted to complete his degree under scholarship, thats important. In the larger scheme of things however, whether he puts one more year into his football career, or not, will have very little impact on what he will make of himself for the rest of his life. This young man is a proven winner, somebody for the Pitt Faithful to be proud of. He doesn’t need a charitable 5th year scholarship extended to him, if his educational goals have be obtained, as a token of appreciation to his commitment and sacrifice to the program.

Comment by Dr. Tom 09.28.12 @ 2:05 pm

How are we out of scholarships after losing two recruiting classes?

Comment by Chuck Morris 09.28.12 @ 2:07 pm

Dr. Tom – I do agree that if Mason will graduate after this season and does NOT have a chance at the next level, then Pitt’s responsibility to him is complete.

Comment by pghFred 09.28.12 @ 2:11 pm

Chuck… what??
it’s a numbers thing….
Pitt has 16 available scholarships…
currently 17 verbals plus Savage making total of 18 needed…
then add Foster and Johnson… so 20 needed…

leads to… who are the 4 who will be asked to leave? could be more.

Comment by Joe D 09.28.12 @ 3:12 pm

The bidding continues…this isn’t about a guy who came in and gave something less than 100%, this is about a guy who gave that and more.

Wonder how many of you guys would get your degree in 4 years with so much time spent in surgery and rehab?

Sorry guys, none of this passes the smell test.

Comment by sfpitt 09.28.12 @ 4:06 pm

sfpitt….

Who do you recommend Pitt cut…. list at least 4 names…. some people are saying 8 will be cut.

Comment by Joe D 09.28.12 @ 5:30 pm

SFPitt – again, I said that if Mason didn’t get the opportunity to get his credits needed to graduate in his four years because of the injury then I believe he should be allowed that chance.

But how many times on here have we read, when it supports other arguments, that these are one year scholarships and should be used as such.

I don’t actually buy into that as I think they should be all four-year block scholarships but the fact that PITT allows each recruit and then player to have a full fours years is a big selling point for those recruits and thier parents.

So – give him that opportunity and then, because he’s been a positive role model offer him a position on the staff or behind the scenes to keep him in the program. He’d be a great Ass’t Grad staffer for the defense.

Look, I’m not demanding this happen but explaining my point that it could and I’ll be perfectly fine if the staff either does it or doesn’t do it. But IMO Mason should be one of the names that are looked at if this class needs to grow by another recruit especially because at this point in the recruiting season those scholarships are usually given to the higher ranked recruits.

Comment by Reed 09.28.12 @ 5:55 pm

@Reed
There have been a host of justifications for telling Dan Mason to get on with his life’s work on his own dime. Yours is but one.
Most have really centered on his marginal contribution on the field and as best I can gather that goes from not going to be playing at the next level to not being on the two deep chart.
We k ow that 95% aren’t going to the next level and mason is one injury away from being on the two deep chart.
So neither of those ostensible arguments passes mild scrutiny.
The real reason is the scholarship it opens up.
I won’t get into how remote the possibility is that this one scholarship will be the difference maker in Pitt’s football fortunes. And I won’t address who I get to exit because I want my savior to be the next scholarship I offer because whoever we get ain’t gonna be that savior.
I am talking character…rewarding those who shod be rewarded and I am not going to bs the one to tell Dan Mason that his dream is over. I am going to give him every last chance possible because I don’t leave wounded warriors out in the field alone.
HE HAS EARNED THAT RIGHT IN MY BOOK.
You could do your thesis on what Pitt has done wrong in football over the last 50 years….
But, when you sacrifice lime Dan Mason has, the least and I mean least you can do is give him his last chance.
If Pitt is to become a factory, then I have news for you. It won’t work. Others with more money and more grads and their own stadiums will outspend you, out cheat you and out slime you. You will be in over your heads. Trust me…I graduated from such a place.
Don’t do it because it us morally wrong.
One friggen scholarship for one year will buy you more for a century than one season from one unproven player.
That is my point.

Comment by SFPitt 09.28.12 @ 8:17 pm

Guess who I think is an idealistic bleeding heart?

Comment by Dr. Tom 09.28.12 @ 9:33 pm

And for those in search of an open scholarship (sic): be patient, grades aren’t in, discontent for lack of PT is growing and several players with suspensions in their past or medical redshirts after spending time at other schools have storm clouds brewing above their heads.
The next group of 18-20 year olds over the number of 60 to stay completely intact will be the first.
Hats off to Homer Bailey too.

Comment by SFPitt 09.28.12 @ 9:49 pm

Dr. Tom.
Funny. Most people think I am a heartless prick.
I have fired dozens of people. Most of them deserved it. Stealing, cheating, etc…
My heart doesn’t bleed but the stench is a bit much.

Comment by SFPitt 09.28.12 @ 9:53 pm

SFPitt – I understand that POV also. As I said I won’t criticize the staff one bit if they retain Mason in 2013.

But as to the ‘dream’ – Mason is physically the best he’ll be now – that knee injury has healed and the nerve damage won’t. This is the season for his dream to come true, not next year when he’ll have more and better competition fort playing time.

Comment by Reed 09.30.12 @ 11:14 am

Reed.
I hope Dan gets to next year. If he does, you’ll get your answer on his progress or lack thereof.
If he doesn’t because Pitt gives him walking papers, then you’ll get your wish, Dan will have given his all for a place that didn’t reciprocate and IMO Pitt we be lesser for it.
I’m betting on him and Pitt to win.

Comment by SFPitt 10.02.12 @ 1:39 am

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