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ESPN’s Cris Carter is reporting Randy Moss declined a one-year deal to return to New England this season before opting to retire. Moss has expressed interest in returning to Foxboro, but the sides struggled over the length of the contract. Moss demanded a multi-year deal, and the Patriots only wished to retrieve his services for the 2011 campaign.
Moss also yearned to play for the New York Jets, but that deal was ruled out after New York took on Plaxico Burress.
Carter has known Randy Moss since the cerebral wide-out’s rookie season in 1998, when the two Hall of Fame candidates were teammates on the Minnesota Vikings. Many considered Carter a mentor for Moss in keeping him out of the same cumbersome tendencies he had earlier in his career.
Initially, after Moss’ breakout rookie season, it appeared the lessons learned from Carter’s volatile Philadelphia Eagles days were paying dividends. As Carter aged he was phased out of the organization, and Moss became more of a diva eventually being excommunicated to
NFL Purgatory the Oakland Raiders.
Moss seemed rejuvenated following his union with New England in 2007, breaking numerous records. However, just like in Minnesotta and Oakland, the wideout’s attitude slowly reverted back to petulance. Moss was shipped back to the Vikings before ending an indifferent 2010 season in Tennessee.
Carter took notice of last season’s woes, and his former pupil’s attitude this offseason:
“When those two teams were removed from him and his ability to go play with them, I think that Randy reacted a lot like the Randy that came into the league, like the Randy we’ve seen, and he said, ‘You know something? I’m not just going to play for anyone.”
The venom behind this scolding is accentuated considering Carter’s erroneous defense of Moss and subsequent critique of Deion Branch in the polarizing Minnesota-New England trade last season.
“The ceiling with Moss with their offense is a lot higher,” Carter said last year. “They can be really dynamic. Like frightening. Now, if they don’t play well offensively, they’ll lose, because they have a defense that doesn’t dominate the games. Deion disappears too much against regular corners. He disappears in the game. He’s made, like, three guest appearances since the Super Bowl. (Branch) is just a guy. You guys have to be real about it,” Carter continued. “Great players, they don’t get hurt as much as the other players. There’s a difference between great ones and good ones and average ones.”
The Patriots - with highest-scoring offense in the league – were victorious in 13 of their final 14 games of the 2010 season, sans Moss. At the other end of the spectrum, Moss was shipped – yet again – only weeks after the trade.