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Randy Moss Wants to Play for Patriots: What Happened to Traditional Retirement?

Will Randy Moss join New England? Does anyone care? (Associated Press)

According to Pro Football Talk, (retired?) wide receiver Randy Moss wants to return to the Patriots. That’s a little surprising. Considering that Moss presumably called it quits due to lack of interest, Randy probably doesn’t have all that much leverage in choosing where (and if) he wants to play at all.

And in case anyone forgot, the Patriots actually made Moss a one-year offer earlier in the offseason. To say Moss is a confusing guy would be an understatement.

Would I want the Pats to sign Randy Moss? Absolutely. Yeah he’s a cancer, but then again, I’m a sucker for washed up all-stars with impressive past performances. Nevertheless, he dropped off fast. And beyond whatever happened with his behavioral issues, for arguably one of the greatest wide receivers to be dumped by three different teams (two of which were the Vikings and Titans) has to say something.

But then I think about a receiving core of Welker, Branch, Ochocinco and Moss. Hot damn.

So Moss wants to play for the Patriots, who most likely have little to no interest him. But I thought Randy Moss retired. Retired (adj.): Having left one’s job and ceased to work. Why is someone allegedly finished with playing sports talking about playing sports? Retirement means it’s the end. A player retires when they stop playing sports and move back to their ranch (I automatically assume all athletes do this upon retirement). But, in today’s world of professional sports, retirement no longer means anything.

It’s All About the Story Lines

At the end of 2010, Mike Lowell announced it was his last season in Major League Baseball. The Red Sox honored the third baseman with a ceremony on the last game of the season. What was so bizarre about that? It wasn’t that Lowell had only played for Boston for five years. It wasn’t that the Red Sox unsuccessfully tried to dump him and were awkwardly stuck with him for a whole season. It was that Lowell said he was going to retire and he meant it. That just doesn’t happen anymore.

I said I’m a sucker for washed up all-stars. Well I’m also a sucker for story lines. And there’s something inexplicably enjoyable about an athlete making a last hurrah, a highlight reel, and ceremony to honor retirement.

He plays his last game, tips his hat, and rides off into the sunset to his ranch. You know what makes terrible storyline? A “will he/won’t he” drama that plays out for months too long. You know what makes an even worse story line? A player doesn’t retire when he can no longer compete, plays for a few random teams to end his career, and fades into oblivion. Some time after that, they apparently become retired. From what I’ve gathered, these are the three routes for a player can take upon retirement.

The Favre Route

Method: Threaten retirement with no intention of actually doing so. Create a soap opera-esque drama in a pathetic attempt to gain attention. Realize no one actually wants you and sink into irrelevance and a life of shame.

Recent Examples: Brett Favre, Roger Clemens, Michael Jordan, Randy Moss?

Office Equivalent (If someone with a generic office job took this route with their profession): Clear out desk on Friday afternoon. Tell boss you haven’t decided if you feel like coming back on Monday. Presumably ends in unemployment.

The Man-Ram Routes

Method: Instead of retiring with the team you will be remembered for, act like an SOB and demand an absurd amount of money. Spend your last years on random and irrelevant teams, and slowly fade into an abyss of nothingness. (Getting suspended for breaking league drug policy is optional, but not required.)

Recent Examples: Manny Ramirez, Shaq, Frank Thomas, Randy Moss?

Office Equivalent: Retire from your job and take several increasingly less appealing jobs before leaving the workforce. Accountant -> Dog Sitter -> Horse Pleaser. Yikes.

The Mike Lowell Route

Method: Announce retirement and actually retire. Pretty cool.

Recent Examples: Mike Lowell, Troy Brown, Bobby Cox

Office Equivalent: Announce retirement. Maybe the office has cake or something to celebrate.

Where Does Randy Moss Fit In?

Arguably, Moss falls somewhere in between the Favre/Ramirez Route. Either way it’s still obnoxious. When players flirt with retirements and comebacks, it merely comes off as a cry for attention.

I get it, it must be hard to be removed from the spotlight in however many years. But it’s boring off field drama. People want to talk about the action — the players in their prime displaying ridiculous acts of athleticism, or doing crazy touchdown dances, or fighting each other. If you’re going to retire, then do it.

The attention should be on the people actually playing the game. The time for Moss to sign with the Patriots or another team was six weeks ago. Now Randy should run a deep route into the sunset toward his ranch.

About Josh Segal

Josh Segal is a professional shock artist and trash talker. He also occasionally writes opinion pieces about the Red Sox, Patriots, Celtics, and their respective leagues at large. Segal is currently a junior at Kenyon College where he plans to double major in drama and political science. Apparently he also writes his own biographies in the third person.

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