Up until this morning, I was really proud of Randy Moss. Entering the final year of his contract, we hadn’t heard a peep out of the normally boisterous wide receiver. There was no threats of a holdout, no complaints, no drama. If anything, Moss seemed more focused than ever, intent on putting up a tremendous season to earn his final big payday.
Yes, there were the comments this off-season of how “the Patriots don’t really pay” and how he was doubtful the team would re-sign him, but those remarks seemed off-the-cuff and not calculated. Randy was just speaking frankly, and frankly, he knows this league is a business and that both him and the Patriots were going to do what they had to do when his contract was up. The comments were something that was probably better left unsaid, but I didn’t see any alterior motive behind it.
This morning was an entirely different affair. Moss changed his tone and is now complaining that he doesn’t feel “wanted” by New England. Suddenly, with those words, what was once “business” has become personal.
Heading into this off-season, there was a clearly defined pecking order of how the Patriots were going to handle their pending free-agents. Priority #1 – Vince Wilfork, whose contract had expired. Priority #2 – Brady, who had one year left on his deal. Priority #3 – Logan Mankins, who would have been a free-agent had the CBA not expired. Priority #4 – Moss, who also had one year left on his deal, but is clearly not on the level of Brady. Perhaps being Priority #4 didn’t sit very well with Moss, but given the makeup of this team, his contract, and his age, I don’t see how Randy could argue that he should be any higher. With Priorities #2 and #3 still largely unresolved, I also don’t see how Randy thinks it’s his turn to sit down at the table.
The Patriots were a fractured locker room last season. This year, they seemed to be coming together. The team is full of young players looking to the veterans like Moss for leadership, so to have something like this come out five days before the opener against Cincy is more than a little discouraging. Here’s hoping that Randy Moss continues the trend of saying something stupid only once every six months. If not, we could be in for another long season…