With the 2011 NFL season closer to fruition than at any point before, Randy Moss's agent picked an opportune time to remind anyone who would listen just how good his client is, just how fit he is, and just how hungry he is.
Of slightly less attention than the NFL's collective bargaining agreement (or lack thereof) has been Moss's free agency situation. Segal's words re-awakened those familiar Moss-to-Jets rumors of a couple of months ago, and brought back to the forefront some speculation about Moss's destination.
The Jets are the most popular target. Depending on who you ask, the chances of the single-season touchdown reception record holder's heading to the Meadowlands is a considerable possibility.
If you're a Patriots fan and you hear that, you should at least be unfazed by it. At most, you should be thrilled.
The reason for that is that Moss is a shell of his incredible self. And the Jets, like it or not, have something in the works that's, well, working.
This isn't another Moss bashing. There are plenty of those articles out there, and at one point, I was in on the action as well.
This is about the Jets—specifically the Magnum they have loaded, cocked and pointed at their foot.
The following are facts. The Jets have made two straight AFC championship games. The Jets have more wins than losses against New England since coach Rex Ryan took over. The Jets have four playoff wins in two years under Ryan. In that stretch, New England has played twice in postseason, and lost, at home, both times.
To say the Jets are lagging behind the Patriots would be foolish. As a matter of fact, Patriots fans should be wary of (and absolutely respect) the Jets. When the games have been biggest, the Jets have been the better team.
Now back to Mr. Mercurial.
Moss, for whatever reason, slows in the cold months of the playoffs. Call it lack of toughness, nerves, whatever, Moss has shown that he gets handled routinely in the postseason. And that's the future Hall-of-Famer Moss, not the one that proved he couldn't be relied upon for touchdowns with three different teams.
And the Jets, the big, tough Jets, want this guy?
Ryan has gone on the record to express his admiration for Moss. Even in his book, he remains convinced that the Patriots made themselves weaker by dealing their only downfield receiver in Moss last year.
But does that explain the attention? Does Ryan really prefer Moss, who he's seen falter against his star cornerback, Darrelle Revis, time and time again? Does he really prefer Moss to elite big-game receiver Santonio Holmes, or resurgent wideout Braylon Edwards?
Can Ryan really be that eager to land a finesse player whose style clashes so completely with his physical offense?
For Patriots fans, this should be like a bad parody of the Henny Youngman quip. Take our wideout, please!
Moss is still linked with New England. Always will be. When a new target destination is discussed, the comparison is to New England. Some fans might be anticipating a Moss return to Foxboro. It's like the trade to Minnesota and pickup by Tennessee didn't happen. Moss can join any team this year, but the Patriots are the ones at the back of everyone's mind.
Ryan sees this connection, too, and could be trying to keep Moss out of New England. And if you're a Patriots fan, you want to see Ryan follow through on that effort.
And you want to see it because the Jets are a problem, and Moss is not. The Jets, as currently constructed, can beat you. They already have. Moss, faded as he is now, cannot.
You want to see it because you've seen how Moss these days can be stopped. You want to see it because you know what happens when teams feel forced to involve him in the offense. You want to see it because Moss isn't that good anymore, and the Jets are.
You want to see Ryan fall into the trap. The Jets are as close as their coach says they are. You want that blossoming to hit a snag.
Moss in the Meadowlands would do it.