Coming off of Sunday’s 38-24 Patriots win over the Bengals, the players all seemed like they were pretty upbeat and feeling good about what went on out on the football field.
A surprisingly happy Bill Belichick actually spent the majority of his press conference talking about how proud he was of the team’s effort, and how he was going to enjoy this one before moving on to next week’s game against the Jets. That’s pretty rare for a guy who is usually quick to forget about a victory and turn the page, yet he seemed happy with the way things turned out and was going to let himself enjoy it.
Then came Tom Brady, who laughed and also made a joke about the fact that it was “too bad” that the Indianapolis Colts lost their season opener, along with saying that he crashed his car so he could get rid of his “2010″ in order “to get the 2011″ model.
Then in walked Randy Moss, with his hat cocked sideways and his headphones dangling around his neck. Usually Moss is pretty laid back and entertaining when he talks to the media, but not today. The veteran had a lot on his mind and a room full of media members to speak it to, and he didn’t hold very much back.
After a week of hearing people react to his comments where he felt “unappreciated”, he felt the need to use Sunday’s opportunity at the podium to “set the record straight”. If the goal was to improve his public persona and get more people on his side, by all accounts it seems like all he really did was make things worse. He also took another shot at the organization by saying in any line of work, it’s always nice to have the person you work for “tell you that you’re doing a good job” – which apparently he must feel hasn’t happened here in New England.
“If you work for somebody, and you work for somebody unless you’re independent, and your boss comes to you, sometimes you want your boss to tell you that you’re doing a good job. You know what I’m saying?,” explained Moss. “That’s every man or woman in here that works for somebody. You want your boss to be able to say he read your column last night or this morning, he liked your column. And that’s just the way with football. If you do a good job and you think that you’re doing a good job, you want to be appreciated, man. I really don’t think that me personally, I’m appreciated. I don’t want you all to take anything out of context that I’m saying, because I am a man and this is a job. And I take my job very seriously to heart.”
“Me being unhappy doesn’t have nothing to do with me toning my game down. I’m here, and I understand my role. My role is to take the ball deep and take the top off the defense. And I think earlier in the week a lot of people were coming at me long about me being unhappy.”
In the past people had written that Moss quit on his previous teams like the Vikings and Raiders, something he says won’t happen here.
The veteran seems to have a chip on his shoulder from something someone said or wrote last week, and said that he feels like people here in New England “want to see him fail”. He feels it stems from his past transgressions, and was likely referring to stories from in the past where it’s been said that he quit on his pevious teams. But he emphasized that isn’t the case here because he “takes his job seriously”, and was using this press conference as an opportunity to make that point.
“When it comes to football, I take my job seriously, as I’ve said time and time again,” said Moss. “And I think there’s . . . I don’t really want to say here in the organization, but I think here in the area, I think here in the New England area a lot of people don’t want to see me do good. The reason why, I really don’t know, I really don’t care. ”
The other part of the problem appears to have something to do with the fact he’s in the final year of his current deal and doesn’t have a new contract. According to Moss the team has yet to reach out to him about the possibility of him staying in New England, which seems to be the real point the veteran was trying make during his 14-minute tirade.
“I just told you all, if you’re working for somebody and you have a policy, you like to feel appreciated, you know what I mean?” said Moss. “And I’m not saying I’m not appreciated here, but I would like to feel that sometimes, and this is the last year of my contract. There has not been anything discussed, not anything said, no type of letter, nothing.”
When asked about whether or not if he’d sign if he received an offer from the team before the year was over, Moss said if that happened, he’d “accept it”, but he won’t accept it should it come during the offseason once the year is over. At that point Moss claims he’ll go play football somewhere else.
“Look, I don’t want to talk about [my] contract. I just want to let you all know because I’m here to play my last season out. OK? If opportunity later on this season presents itself for me to be a New England Patriot, I will accept that. But if it doesn’t, I must move on.”
“I’ve already shown that I can play still at a high level at age 33. To be offered a contract after this season is over, that would be a smack to my face.”
The veteran also told reporters that he expects a visit with Bill Belichick tomorrow in his office after his rant, but said “if I do, then I’m gonna have to just explain to Bill how I feel.”
When asked about his relationship with Patriots owner Robert Kraft, Moss also called it “fair”, and that he really doesn’t see him enough to be able to call it much more than that.
“It’s fair,” said Moss. “Mr. Kraft is a businessman. He’s not really seen around here a lot during the week. But on the weekends and things like that? Oh yeah, he’s here, and we have a relationship. Is it where I want it to be, or where he wants it to be? I don’t know. I don’t really know how busy his schedule is. But as an owner, we have a fair relationship.”
How this plays out remains to be seen, but for now the veteran says that if the Patriots want him, they need to show it. Otherwise he’s still got a family to take care of and if that means he’ll need to move on, so be it.
“I’m not ready to leave the league yet, but I still have a family to provide for,” said Moss. “So all I’m saying is if I’m wanted here, I want to be here. If I’m not gonna be here, then that’s it. Simple as that. That’s all I’m saying.”