"Now back to biz!! There's good an bad an u have to b ready for both!! its in gods hand now." -- Randy Moss on Twitter, 2/13/12
And just like that, future Hall of Fame wide receiver Randy Moss announced his desire to return to the National Football League the way any self-respecting athlete would do it in the year 2012 -- by following up an impromptu uStream rant with an emphatic tweet!
Ah, technology and social media!
It's somewhat ironic that Moss would use the forced brevity of Twitter's 140-character platform to announce his intentions, since trying to wrap your brain around the enigma that is Randy Moss would be a process that is anything but brief.
Count the number of teams or programs that have been teased by Moss's otherworldly skills only to ultimately be let down in some shape, form or fashion. He was supposed to be the savior for Notre Dame football in 1995, but was released from his scholarship before he even set foot on campus because of his role in a fight in high school. Ditto his savior status for Florida State, but he was kicked out of school there for smoking weed his first semester on campus.
Moss was traded from Minnesota to Oakland in 2005, was pretty much a dud (oddly, almost intentionally so) in Oakland before being traded to New England, where his career was revived in 2007 with a record 23 touchdown catches. Eventually, he wore out his welcome in New England when he didn't get a big contract extension he was seeking and he was traded back to Minnesota during the 2010 season. Amazingly, he was cut a few weeks later and languished the rest of the season in Tennessee doing virtually nothing.
When it comes to talking points, if there is one player to whom Moss is inextricably linked, it seems to be Terrell Owens, whose efforts to get back into the NFL have landed him in Allen, Texas, playing Arena Football. Their chronological footprints practically overlap, as do their statistical résumés. You can't have a conversation about great "big play" threats and not include both of them. John Granato and I actually had a discussion yesterday on our show on 1560 The Game about Randy Moss and Terrell Owens, and the question was "At their best, which one would you rather have?"
Trying to come up with a clear answer is not easy. Ironically, their physical skills practically get pushed to the background, and you wind up weighing their respective baggage. What's worse? Terrell Owens's franchise-crushing penchant for burning every bridge connected to him, or Moss's ultrasensitive quit mechanism, which, once triggered, is nearly irreversible without trading or cutting him?
You start with accepting the fact that choosing either one is not like choosing a life partner, but more like choosing which batshit crazy hot chick you plan to take home from the bar and possibly make a few booty calls to over the next few months. In other words, the shelf life on either guy before he becomes a malignant tumor on your team is relatively short.
With the clear understanding of the garbage that comes with each, I decided that the otherworldly big play ability of Moss (At his best, it's not a reach to say he might be the greatest "big play" guy in the history of team sports, at least in my lifetime) is enough to make up for the fact that Owens puts forth maximum effort on plays that don't come to his side of the field.
I listed all of the welcomes that Moss eventually wore out through the years, but unlike Owens, who most of his former employers wouldn't touch with a fifty-foot pole (It's why he's coming to an Arena League game near you next season!), Moss was actually welcomed back to Minnesota (once, at least), and even Patriots quarterback Tom Brady said this season he'd take Moss back in a second, despite how it ended a little over a year ago for Moss the first time around in a Patriot uniform. Moss's mentor Cris Carter claims that physically Moss can still go, that he can still run a forty-yard dash in 4.3 seconds, but his thoughts on Moss's mental fluctuations are incredibly poignant:
"The one thing you have to address with Randy Moss is not a conditioning thing," Carter told ESPN Radio's Mike & Mike in the Morning, via ESPN.com. "It's not an age thing. It needs to be addressed. I believe it's the elephant in the room. It's that thing called quit.
"And Randy, not like any other superstar I've met, he has more quit in him than any of those other players. So I need to address that. That's what [Bill] Belichick did when he brought him over from Oakland. He told him he wasn't going to have it.
"But Randy, when things don't go well, like no other player I've ever been around or associated with, he has a quit mechanism in him that's huge. That needs to be addressed before he signs with any team."
So I'll bring this back around to you Houston Texan fans out there -- let's put aside the ridiculous notion that Peyton Manning is coming here, and focus on a slightly less ludicrous notion, that Randy Moss would be under consideration for the Texans.
If he really can still run and jump even at, say, 85 percent of what he used to do, does a motivated Randy Moss get you excited as a potential solution for the "downfield threat opposite Andre Johnson" slot that everyone seems to (rightfully) think the Texans need? Understand that a fully motivated Randy Moss still means a) you get downfield blocking that is somewhere between shitty and nonexistent, b) haphazard route running on plays not run for him, and c) the likelihood that he will go into "SLEEP" mode if the Texans start out the season 3-5.
Still, it's hard not to watch these highlights and not daydream a little bit....
Like any daydream, eventually you wake up, roll over and still see Jacoby Jones lying next to you. And you realize the Texans have got to do something.
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For the right price and minimal cap exposure, why not Moss?
Listen to Sean Pendergast on 1560 The Game from 6 a.m. to 11 a.m. weekdays, and watch the simulcast on Comcast 129 from 6 a.m. to 7:30 a.m. Also, follow him on Twitter at http://twitter.com/SeanCablinasian.