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Following the Patriots’ 38-24 drubbing of the Cincinnati Bengals on Sunday, the oft-quiet Randy Moss had a lot to say in his post game press conference. For sixteen minutes Moss vented about his contract situation, respect, and this being his last year as a New England Patriot. Moss began with a full head of steam, echoing sentiments made early last week, but the longer he continued, the more muddled his message became. Judging by his seemingly built-up angst and tone, it seemed obvious that Moss was destined for disciplinary action when he returned to Foxboro on Monday.
As expected, Moss and coach Bill Belichick met on Monday to discuss the wide receiver’s position. While Moss confirmed the meeting with the Boston Herald, Belichick predictably remained mum. He did, however, heap a load of praise on his misunderstood wideout.
“I feel the same way as I’ve felt about Randy for the last three years. He’s a good football player,” Belichick said Monday during his weekly press conference. “I’m glad he’s on our team. I think he adds a lot to our football team. He has good energy. Everybody likes him and he’s fun to have on the team. He’s a good player.”
While Belichick’s comments seem to go against the expected grain, the Patriots also posted a video of Moss rallying his teammates immediately following Beclichick’s post game speech in response to Sunday’s victory.
“Hey, everybody in here, coaches included” he shouted. “That’s good when we all do it on the same rhythm. One clap. One clap. One clap. Sound good.”
This time, Moss was wasn’t surrounded by controversy, only his teammates.
Some of those same teammates also came to his defense on Monday. Veteran running back Fred Taylor said, “Randy stated the way he felt. You can’t question a man’s integrity when it’s from his heart.” Sammy Morris, another veteran running back added more of the same: “Contracts are part of the game. I haven’t heard what he said yet. I’m not really dying to go figure it out either. It’s part of the game. We’ve got a pretty veteran team and we understand that’s part of it.” Matt Light, a 10-year veteran in the final year of his contract, piled on, “I think each guy’s different,” he said. “Some guys, one thing’s important to them. For others, it’s completely different. For me, I’m pretty happy. I’ve got no complaints.”
Understandably, the veterans had his back, but what would the young guys think? “Personally, I appreciate him,” second-year cornerback Darius Butler said. “He’s one of the best teammates I’ve got.” Ownership? “I feel I have a good relationship with Randy,” owner Robert Kraft told WEEI on Monday. “I think that’s basically what he said. I think we’re glad to have him part of this team. I consider him a very intelligent young man and I’m happy he’s with us.’’ As for the guy entrusted with getting Moss the ball, well, quarterback Tom Brady is on board, too. “I know what’s best for our offense and having [Wes Welker and Moss] together is of utmost importance and I think those guys know how important it is to have each other.’’ Brady also said that, “every quarterback in the league would want him on their team.’’
Now that the dust has settled, it appears to be business-as-usual down in Foxboro. Moss said he won’t do much more talking this season (we shall see) and we know where Belichick stands on in-house matters. “I keep the conversations that I have between the players and myself private,’’ Belichick said. “I think that’s the way they should stay.’’
When initially told of Moss’ remarks, Belichick pleaded ignorance. He then broke his steely demeanor and added with a smile, “You guys must have loved it.’’