The last time I wrote about Randy Moss, I called him lazy. It happened here. Afterwards, it seemed the entire New England area wanted to Thelma-and-Louise me off a cliff.
I questioned his work ethic and overall approach to football. His defenders said Randy Moss was misunderstood and busted his butt. They said he was injured, not lackadaisical. Patriots fans sent me some of the nastier e-mails I've ever gotten. The New England organization was furious with me. When I covered a Patriots game the following week a close writer friend said he couldn't talk to me in front of Patriots officials for fear of retribution to him. He was serious. I thought his reaction was humorous. Did he believe the Patriots were going to add cyanide to his diet soda?
When other NFL players just a short time later publicly stated the exact same thing I wrote, those players were written off as crybabies and sore losers.
Moss had a sophisticated apparatus defending him that included the entire Patriots organization and some in the media. He was more protected than a head of state in a fortified bunker.
That's what the Patriots have always done with Moss. They baby him, insulate him, and protect him from a cold, cruel world.
And how has Moss repaid the Patriots?
Moss tossed them under a bus.
"When you have done so much and put so much work in, it kind of feels like I am not wanted," Moss said in an interview with CBSSports.com. "I am taking that in stride and playing my final year out and whatever the future holds is what it holds, but it is kind of a bad feeling -- feeling not wanted..."
|Randy Moss apparently will have to settle for his $6.4 million for this season. (US Presswire)|
Moss has a three-year deal with New England for $27 million. The Patriots are paying Moss $6.4 million this season. There are plenty who would love to be unwanted like that.
Moss complaining now, just days before the season opener, adds some unnecessary distractions to a team that's already sensitive to contract issues. See: Brady, Tom.
Brady has mostly kept his mouth shut and the quarterback certainly isn't complaining about not being wanted. He's smarter and less selfish than that.
The at-times questionable work ethic by Moss on the field and his whining off of it are related and typical Moss. Teams in Moss' past eventually witnessed the real Randy and grew tired of him. Now it's New England's turn.
What occurs next is predictable. The Patriots are smart about which players to keep and which ones to strap into an ejector seat. They avoid giving massive extensions to older players. Moss is 33. They've made exceptions but even those exceptions are exceptional, like Brady (who is also 33). You can give an extension to an older quarterback but doing so with a wide receiver is far riskier.
The Patriots will smartly take their time with Moss and as the season progresses Moss will get more frustrated about the lack of a contract. He'll go into a shell at some point. How do I know this? He's done it before.
It's possible Moss has matured and we won't see the runaway wreck of a caboose that happened in Oakland, but Moss' history shows he often acts with extreme petulance when frustrated.
The Patriots know this, which is why they continue to publicly baby Moss despite Moss stabbing them in the back.
"I would just say on Randy that he is a professional," Bill Belichick said this week. "He's had a good training camp. He's played very well since he's been here. He's played at a very high level and I hope that continues. He's brought a lot of passion to the game -– for the game –- since he's been here. He's well liked and he's well respected on the team."
Let's see how long that lasts.