Reiss has a link to a Philadelphia Inquirer article that spends a lot of time downplaying the Randy Moss acquisition by the Patriots. Obviously, the city of Philadelphia still has some sensitivity to primadonna receivers. What drew my attention is the quote attributed to Scott Pioli on the topic of recruiting low character talent. http://www.philly.com/inquirer/sports/20070506_Dont_give_Patriots_the_trophy_just_yet.html Apparent contradiction? No. There's an important difference between Moss and Owens that isn't being discussed. The media is intent on painting Moss and Owens with the same brush. Both are great talents, and game breakers. Both have been disruptive to their teams in the past, sure. But the context has been very different, and the underlying personality traits are very different. Owens is a media hound and a self-promoter. He's a showman and a firebrand. He spends time thinking about what he can do to get himself onto ESPN when the cameras are on him. He uses his talent to make himself into a celebrity. He's focused on the money, and is a manipulator-- e.g. getting the trade to the Ravens reversed, because he wanted to play for the Eagles. He uses his talent to attract attention, and take the stage. (I'm actually starting to think he's maturing a bit, now that he's in Dallas... we'll see) Granted, Moss has the case of mooning the Lambeau crowd hanging over him-- which is reminiscent of Hobbs celebrating inappropriately at San Diego-- but that is not what defines him. Moss is most famous and most notorious for quitting on his team, not running routes to completion if the ball is going elsewhere, giving up on the team before the game is over-- very Corey Dillon, actually. What happens when you take talented players who really care about the game, and force them to play for perennial losers, like Cincinnati or Oakland or Arizona? How do they react in a team environment, when they are doing everything they can for the team, and the team isn't holding up it's end of the bargain? Where does a guy like Dillon or Moss find motivation to keep showing up, putting in the time that they want to dedicate to winning, when they see incompetance and laziness around them? They get frustrated. They stop. They lash out. They get a bad reputation. The key character difference between TO and RM is what BB and SP repeatedly mention in the offseason: "Football is important to him". That is the defining thread of what the Patriots are looking for. It's a measure of dedication and commitment to winning the game. Owens has made good teams worse-- the Eagles in particular, by introducing negative media attention. In Phili, he publicly roasted his QB, and kept feeding the media frenzy. What was he thinking?!? He didn't seem to particularly care whether the team wins, so long as he gets his face time. In contrast, Dillon and Moss have made bad (very bad) teams better; talented, hardworking, football guys who demonstrated the ability to play at the highest levels on mediocre (Minnesota), bad (Cincinnati) and really bad (Oakland) teams. But at some point, the clash between their desire to win coupled with the constant losing, causes them to lash out at the organization because they are not getting the support they need to make a meaningful difference. The Pats want players who hate losing. Who hold themselves and others accountable for losing. On a bad team, that is a characteristic that will get in the way. Bad teams need quiet team-first guys who can cope with the losing and put a good face on it, for the sake of the marketing. Guys like Bledsoe, who was as cool and gracious after a loss as a win, are the perfect front man for a losing team. Guys like Moss, who cant (or choose not to) hide their disgust, get wrapped up in controversy. And then, they get painted with the same brush as Terrell Owens and Ricky Williams and the rest of the boobs that have real issues with maturity and focus and commitment. But put Moss and Dillon in a winning environment, and everything falls into place for them. The end symptoms may looks similar-- giving up on the team, disrespecting teammates and coaches-- but the psychological profiles are very different. (I wonder, actually, how Ricky would have done in a winning environment. I remember reading a story that he started smoking pot again after losing to the Pats late in the season in 2003. I remember it particularly, because it registered with me that the Pats success was driving others to use drugs... which is a curious concept. 2003 was the season when the Pats stole an OT win at Miami by blocking a FG, and getting Mare to miss the would-be game winner. And later in the season, a shut out in Foxboro with fans throwing snow in celebration, on the way to a SB titile. That was the game the Pats clinched the AFC East. That year the Fins had a real good team and had been favored in the Division, but the Pats had something intangible. A guy who resorts to weed to cope with losing must care a lot, deep down, to put his career at risk like that. Apparently, that game was the last straw broke Ricky's back-- which indicates something about his mental fragility. But you wonder what might have been, if he'd been drafted by Denver, Indy or New England.) Personally, I have very little concern about the Pats ability to redeem Randy Moss. Randy is finally on a team of players and coaches that are like him. Football is important to them. It's an environment he's never been in before, defined by an expectation for hard work, no excuses and success in every aspect of the game. The fact that Pennington was pressing his FO to bring Moss onto the team speaks volumes to me. I think Moss is right, when he says that we haven't seen everything he's capable of. He finally has the supporting cast that he needs for his potential to really shine through.