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From “Motivated” to Retired: Randy Moss to Hall of Fame?

Randy Moss had a magical '07 season for New England (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky)

The More Things Change, The More They Stay the Same

On July 14, Joel Segal, Randy Moss’ agent, claimed the mercurial wide receiver is in great shape, motivated, and ready to contribute to a Super Bowl contending team.

“He is determined, motivated and quite frankly has a huge chip on his shoulder. Whatever team ends up getting Randy, they’re going to know they’re getting the old Randy Moss,” Segal told “He’s not just coming in to be on the team, he’s going to be Randy Moss — a difference maker.”

Apparently that desire waned. Moss, after “weighing” his options in free agency, ordered his agent to publicly announce his retirement. A complete 180. A shock.

But is it really “unexpected” that Randy Moss did the, uh, “unexpected”?

Since 1998, Moss has reminded me of the stoic portrayal of Achilles by Brad Pitt in the movie, Troy. He never seemed to care about the greater good, just his own personal agenda. And, in having that selfish motive, Moss doing the unexpected is like Lady Gaga wearing relish for eye shadow.

In other words, with Moss the “unexpected” – by nature – is actually the expected.

A Beautiful Fickle Mind

How will we remember Randy Moss?

The ’07 season was magical. From the opening game (or the Spy-Gate game) all the way to the last moments of the Super Bowl when the Patriots were throwing up last-second heaves in desperation — you never knew what would happen when 81 was on the other end of a Tom Brady pass.

Looking beyond that, the question with Moss was never his physical ability, it’s always been between the ears. With that said, a newly discovered motivation never would have mattered when his issues have never pertained to ability.

And I don’t know if we ever understood Moss. His relationship quarrels seem to be with himself, rather than with the team employing him.

The fickle nature displayed in this last month is nothing new. Moss has always been the personification of the Katy Perry song, “Hot N Cold.”

One year he wants to win a championship. He does everything right – takes a pay cut, is amenable with his new teammates, and finally becomes the force we all know he can be. The next year he is bitching about being underpaid, holding press conferences about his selfish monetary-driven intentions after a huge team win, and feuding with the coaching staff.

In New England, he shot himself out-of-town seemingly on purpose. Then he wanted back in? He has and always will be an enigma.

It’s more than that, though. Moss embodied everything I hate about sports, and everything I love about sports at the same time. He was a diva, but apparently a great leader. Moss can be very savvy with media. He had ability to articulate himself much better than many other athletes. That same self-awareness can be superseded by his tendency to be an a-hole.

Moss was creative in the likeable way, not over-the-top creative like Chad Ochocinco. Instead Moss had an instinctive creativeness that is restricted. This is by design; he only lets us see this side of him in spurts.

When players were first given the opportunity to introduce themselves and their alma-mater in primetime games, Moss coined Rand University. As creative as he could be outside of the game, Moss’ game in between the lines was as original as an episode of Entourage.

Moss refused to go over the middle. His best pattern was the fly pattern. He was a front-runner at heart, which means he doesn’t have heart.  Moss was infamous for giving up on plays, and known as a player who didn’t try all the time.

That really sucked.

In fact, when dissecting Moss’ career, that’s the toughest aspect to circumvent. I mean has anyone had a Hall of Fame career, and left as many accolades and greatness on the table as Moss?

Mostly, I’ll remember Moss for re-affirming two truisms about sports.

1) Every now and then an athlete comes along and can produce a “Holy Sh!T” moment on the reg. It’s a gift. Even when it’s not happening, the potential for it to happen keeps you on the edge of your seat. It’s completely arbitrary, and it’s part of the fabric which makes sports the greatest “reality television” show of all time. Anything can happen. Moss – along with Jordan, Derek Jeter, Barry Sanders, Doug Flutie (not just BC, even with the Bills), Brett Favre (in both the good way AND the bad) – harnessed that ability.

2) You root for the laundry. You just do.

Believing In Santa Claus

So is it really over for Moss?

Both Michael Holley and Tom E. Curran were skeptical on CSNNE Monday night. And justifiably so.

Moss still has fuel in the tank. His a viable first-option on 60% of the teams in the league right now. I mean, come on! It was less than a year ago Moss erupted the volcano on Revis Island.

About Ryan Hadfield

Ryan Hadfield is the author of the weekly Sports Media Musings column at Sports Of Boston. Hadfield is known as one of the top sports media critics in Boston. He also contributes to Boston Sports Media Watch. In November 2011, Hadfield helped launch the new SoB Point Taken blog featuring his podcasts & musings on sports, media and culture. Follow Ryan on Twitter.

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2 comments for “From “Motivated” to Retired: Randy Moss to Hall of Fame?”

  1. great article ryan.

    you think Moss will come out of retirement a little later in the season?

    where people just NOT interested in him?

    Posted by Stephen Gibbons | August 3, 2011, 9:47 am
  2. Thanks Gibbs! I think he’ll come back. He’s only 34, and may not be the burner he once was, but has plenty to offer a team.

    A lot of people are saying St. Louis catching balls from Sam Bradford alongside Mike Sims-Walker is a great fit. The Rams also have Josh McDaniells running the offense, so that would appear to make sense.

    If you believe Cris Carter, Moss wanted to play for either the Jets or the Pats. Carter also claimed the Pats offered Moss a 1 year deal, but Moss wanted years.

    The Pats gave those years to Chad Ochocinco.

    But then again this is all coming from Cris Carter, who called Deion Branch “Just another guy” and was critical that the Pats got rid of him.

    Posted by Ryan Hadfield | August 3, 2011, 10:28 am

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