From purple to black, Moss has been the pit bull


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Jan 22, 2006
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From purple to black, Moss has been the pit bull

I'm stuck between a rock and a hard place. I know that pit bulls have bad reputations. But there are dogs that get loose every day. You can't discriminate because they are pit bulls."
The police chief of Medina, Minnesota voiced that statement after the pit bull of Raiders' wideout, Randy Moss, escaped from his home in late April. When the news spread through the neighborhood, a terror alert was issued.

Yes, a terror alert...Not for a bear, not for a rabid dog, just your average canine.

"The dog is really friendly. We had no problems with's nice and lays down and you can scratch its belly when on the property."

Throughout his career, Randy Moss has been the pit bull.

After joining the Raiders in the offseason of 2005, Moss remarked, "You have to grow as you go, and that's what I try to do."

In his first season with the Oakland Raiders , the 6'4" wideout just barely surpassed the 1,000-yard stratum as he battled with nagging injuries. Along with his eight touchdown receptions, Moss' 2005 numbers are among the lowest of his eight-year career.

You wouldn't know it from looking at him, though.

Even before the 1998 NFL Draft, in which he was selected by the Minnesota Vikings with the 21st overall pick, Moss was tagged as a "team cancer" or "coach killer."

That same team killer caught 69 balls worth 1,313 yards and 17 touchdowns in his rookie season; the Vikings' number one ranked offense was on its way to a 15-1 season, while Moss was on his way to his first Pro Bowl and the 1998 NFL Rookie of the Year Award.

In the following three seasons, from 1999-2001, Moss caught 239 more balls for 4,083 yards and 36 touchdowns, leading the Minnesota Vikings in receiving all three seasons. In that time, he was also fined for yelling at an official, squirting an official with water, making contact with an official, taunting the NY Giants, and yelling at sponsors on a bus.

Oh, and the team posted a record of 26-22 in those three years, making the playoffs twice despite 27th, 28th, and 29th ranked defensive units.

In 2002, the team went 6-10. But, more importantly, Moss made an illegal left turn in his Lexus, hitting an officer standing in front of his vehicle who was attempting to halt the illegal activity. As a result, Moss plead guilty to a misdemeanor traffic violation and was sentenced to pay a $1,200 fine and perform 40 hours of community service. In the same year, Moss exceeded the $1,200 fine total with 1,347 yards on 106 catches.

In 2003, the Marshall alumnus became the first wide receiver in NFL history to average over 100 yards and one touchdown per game throughout the course of an entire season. The team went 9-7, despite a 23rd-ranked defense in points and 25th ranked unit in yardage. The offense, on the other hand, ranked sixth in points and first in yardage. In 2003, the defense, not Randy Moss, was the "team killer."

The year of 2004 was another dicey year for number 84. Despite hamstring injuries, Moss still hauled in 13 touchdown receptions; however, in 13 games of action, he only accumulated 767 receiving yards on the season. Even with an 8-8 regular season record, Minnesota made it into the 2004 postseason. The week before the postseason began, Moss walked off the field with two seconds remaining on the game clock in an 18-21 loss against the Washington Redskins . As a result, the media harshly criticized the receiver's selfish actions.

In the NFC wildcard game, Moss hushed his critics, catching two touchdowns in a 31-17 shocker over the Green Bay Packers . But once again, it was Moss who became the center of negativity for the post-game analysis. After catching his second touchdown of the game, Moss turned backside to the mass of green and yellow, placed his hands near his waist, and made a mooning motion to the beloved Packers fans.

The next week, the Vikings lost to the Philadelphia Eagles 14-27 in the NFC Divisional Playoffs--not because Daunte Culpepper threw two interceptions to Donovan McNabb's zero, not because the defense allowed 395 yards of offense, but because of Randy Moss (or so they say).

In 2005, Moss was considered to be the "trash" of the free agent pool. Teams avoided the receiving giant, weighing his off-field transgressions over his on-field accomplishments. As a result, the Oakland Raiders were able to acquire the Pro Bowler for a first-round draft choice and Napoleon Harris, who tallied a whopping 25 tackles in his first year with the Vikings.

Since his arrival, No. 18 has been as silent as your average on-shift librarian.

Off the field, he has started his own clothing line, dropped his agent--Dante DiTrapano--who was facing drug charges, organized a plan to give back to Marshall University, and chartered a bus for 80 kids to watch an NBA game with him.

Those stories don't generate revenue, though; "every blue moon" reports do.

Unfortunately for Randy Moss, "every once in a blue moon," a friendly bark turns into a media bite.
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