By now, everyone knows that the Tennessee Titans claimed future Hall of Fame wide receiver Randy Moss off waivers on Wednesday, November 4th. What has managed to fly a little under the radar is the real story—the lack of interest shown in the once coveted deep threat.
In the 2010 preseason, mock draft boards and power rankings alike had Moss and Houston Texans wide out, Andre Johnson, neck and neck as the No. 1 and No. 2 receivers in the NFL. There were rumors coming out of the New England training camp saying Moss was in tip-top shape, and he was as quick off the line as he'd ever been.
Patriots quarterback, Tom Brady, went to bat for Moss within the organization in an attempt to try to keep Moss in the fold. Knowing all of this, it's downright shocking that Moss will be playing for his third team this season when he takes the field as the newest Tennessee Titan.
Out of the 31 teams in the waiver order, the Titans were the only team to even put out a waiver claim on Moss. With so many teams in need of a wide receiver, it's nothing short of astounding that no one wanted the guy who just two months ago was widely regarded as the best wide receiver in football. Moss had some press conference blowups this season, but no one thought his stock had dropped so drastically.
Moss has been to seven Pro Bowls and has been a first team All-Pro four times. He has the single season record for TD receptions, and he's fifth all time in receiving yards. He's also second all time in career TD receptions. Over the course of the last three-plus seasons he spent in New England, he racked up 3,904 yards receiving, 50 TD catches and caught 259 balls.
However, this season brought more problems with the feisty wideout than reason for celebration. In his first three games with the Patriots in 2010, Moss had only nine catches for 139 yards but hauled in three TDs in those games. Still, after going without a reception in the team's fourth game and the Patriots still winning in that blowout against the Miami Dolphins, Coach Bill Belichick traded Moss to the Minnesota Vikings.
The Vikings were hoping Moss would be the missing piece to their playoff picture puzzle, but after only four games as a Viking and the team going 1-3 with Moss on the team, he had 3.3 catches per game for 43.5 yards. He also caught only two TD receptions in the four games while he was around.
Moss was inexplicably cut by Vikings head coach Brad Childress just two days after the team's Week 8 loss to the New England Patriots. Coach Childress was very unclear about his motives for cutting Moss, but one thing is clear—Childress isn't the only coach who doesn't want Randy Moss around.
The Titans were the 22nd team in the waiver order, and with teams like the St. Louis Rams, the Buffalo Bills, the San Diego Chargers and the Miami Dolphins with first crack at him, it was a surprise that Moss was available for the Titans to claim. What is even more surprising is not one other team put in a claim on the decorated wide receiver.
In the last two months, Moss went from playing for a shiny new contract in New England, to trying help a struggling Minnesota Vikings team get back on track, to now being seemingly unwanted by almost every team and a castaway on the NFL landscape.
Randy Moss's 2010 season has been a roller coaster ride wildly spiraling downward, out of control, with no stop in sight. He's now been reduced to a journeyman receiver with one trick in his bag—the nine route.
The Titans just lost their breakout wide receiver, Kenny Britt, for "an extended period of time," according to Titans head coach Jeff Fisher. Moss is getting what could be his last chance to prove himself useful as an NFL wideout.
Randy Moss's entire career has been a tumultuous journey of the highest of highs and the lowest of lows. He was loved in Minnesota in his first go around there, then left for dead in Oakland on a Raiders team with no hope of succeeding. Then he got a new lease on life in the NFL when the Patriots took a chance on Moss by trading away a measly fourth round pick to acquire him.
Moss had quite possibly the best single season a wide receiver has ever had in 2007, his first year with the Patriots. Two seasons later, Moss put up gaudy numbers in Tom Brady's return from injury. Now Moss has been left for dead once again, but this time may be his last chance at redemption.
If no one wants him now, he can't afford to have a bad second half of the season, or he may not find a team to give him another shot in 2011. It's do or die time for Moss, and if the Titans—who have a record of 5-3 halfway through the 2010 season—don't find their way into the playoffs, he may not be welcomed back in Tennessee—let alone anywhere else.
Moss will have to prove himself once again, and more than just where he'll play next lies in the balance. If this experiment doesn't go well, Moss may be getting his last set of walking papers. If Tennessee is truly his last stop, let's hope he goes out with a bang.