Randy Moss Interview...

Angry Pope

All Raider
Feb 2, 2006
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Nine Nuggets: Catching up with Randy Moss

Adam Schein

Something dawned on me last week. Until Randy Moss opened up a juice franchise in his home state of West Virginia, there has been virtually no conversation or buzz about the supremely talented and controversial receiver this off-season.

Thus, we thought it would be a perfect time to check in with one of the most fascinating players in the NFL.

Moss joined Jerry Rice and I on Sirius NFL Radio and had some interesting thing to say on a variety of subjects. He touched on what went wrong for the Raiders last year, the Raiders quarterback and coaching situation for 2006 versus 2005, his health, whether or not he could play with Daunte Culpepper again, his only regret in Minnesota, the time he walked off the field against the Redskins, and much more.

We'll dedicate this week's Nine Nuggets to Moss …

1) The first thing we talked to the Raiders' receiver about was the Oakland mini-camp.

Moss said, "The first camp was lovely, man. We had a great time. We just tried to get some things moving in the right direction as far as bringing in Aaron Brooks. We moved our offensive line around a little bit. We've tried to straighten out a couple things on defense and then bringing a good coach in like Art Shell and the team he's bringing in with him. I think we can really see what the Oakland Raiders are going to do this season because I think, personally, that we're better and more mentally sound than last year."

I had to step in and ask Moss if that was a comment against the leadership of Norv Turner.

Moss responded, "I just think that we needed some guidance and we needed some discipline. Jerry, you played for all those years and you know, being on a good team, you can tell when the chemistry is good, when the chemistry is bad, when the coach has control of the team, when he doesn't. We were in disarray last year and we never could get back together so I think that was one of the things everybody tried to put their finger on but we just couldn't get it done."

2) Upon hearing the response, I asked Moss what the upside was for this Raiders team that underachieved a year ago.

His response was all over the board, but Raiders fans should actually be pleased that players actually were being kept in meetings (though a bit unsettling that players actually weren't happy about it).

"I just think that the chemistry that we have right now with coach Art Shell bringing his team on and really trying to lead us in the right direction. I was actually happy to go to my first mini-camp to see how Coach Art Shell was because a few guys called me and complained, 'He keeps us in meetings too long,' 'He does this,' 'This is no more.' Actually, I was kind of anxious because I know what direction that we as a team and an organization need to move in and I was kind of skeptical about 'Is that the right fit?' I mean, I'm getting all these complaints so now I gotta go see it for myself. Coach Art Shell reminds me a lot of coach Dennis Green, who I had back in the day, as a far as his philosophy, a little bit of his approach to the game. And that's something guys need to get a tight grasp on and hang on to coach Art Shell's coattails and hopefully he can lead us to the promised land. That's the perception I got from going to my first mini-camp. A lot of guys didn't give him credit because they were not used to the hard work and going out there and getting it even in the off-season. So that's where a lot of complaints were coming from. Art Shell is a coach who is old school and he's going to work his players and expect something to show up on game day," Moss said.

3) The star receiver will be playing with his third different quarterback in as many years.

However, Moss is enthused to play with Aaron Brooks. The receiver said, "I'm really excited about having Aaron Brooks, a little more mobile than Kerry Collins. Taking nothing away from Kerry Collins, I enjoyed playing with him and I enjoyed learning from and with him but knowing that the team had to move in another direction, bringing a guy like Aaron Brooks in, what he's done in his career thus far and having receivers like Donte Stallworth and Joe Horn down there (in New Orleans), then being able to come and work with me, Doug Gabriel, Alvis Whitted, Ronald Curry and Jerry Porter, hopefully that's something he can smile about also."

As the interview progressed, we got the feeling that Brooks wasn't the Raiders quarterback Moss was impressed with the most. Here's what he had to say about young signal-caller Andrew Walter …

"My last OTA was a couple weeks ago and he was throwing the ball very well. I like his arm because he has a lot of zip on the ball and that's what I need, personally, in a quarterback, somebody with a fast release that can get the ball to me. Receivers are not really open that long so you need somebody with a strong arm that can get the ball there. I like Andrew Walter. With them taking him last year, everybody was wondering why they took him. We needed somebody who could play on the field and this and that. But with what I've seen, with him being tall, being able to see and read the defense, I like him. I like his upside."

4) Before Daunte Culpepper was traded to Miami, there were rumors that the Raiders had interest in reuniting Moss with his former teammate. While the pair put up sensational numbers and consistently made highlight reel plays, the relationship soured and verbal barbs were exchanged when Moss was dealt away from Minnesota in the beginning of 2005.

Randy Moss's relationship with former teammate Duante Culpepper is still a touchy subject with the receiver. (Jeff Gross / Getty Images)

We asked Moss if he could've played with Culpepper again.

Moss gave us a telling five-second pause and stated, 'You have a lot of things going through your mind good and bad. I wanted to stay out of it. I didn't want to hear from the Raiders. I didn't want to hear from Culpepper or Culpepper's people. That's between the Raiders and the quarterback.'

I interrupted: "Could you have played with Culpepper again?"

Moss blurted out a loud and drawn out, 'well' followed by another pause, before saying. ‘I think we could've played together again, but there was so much in the air to clear up, so many negative things. Who knows? I root for Daunte. I hope he does well in Miami and hope we meet up in the playoffs.'

It was rather easy to interpret that Moss was rooting for Culpepper to go to any club but Oakland.

5) Moss' run in Minnesota was controversial. I cited several examples of behavior that could be considered regretful in hindsight. We referenced the arrests, the 'fake moon' against the Packers, the reported verbal fight with Vikings' sponsors, and the walk off the field against the Redskins at the end of the 2004 season when Minnesota was trying to make the playoffs.

We then simply asked when Moss reflects back to his Minnesota days, if he had any regrets.

His response was rather interesting.

Moss said, "I think the only regret I do have is that I was close to a Super Bowl two times and couldn't get to the big game. That's the only regret I have. I think that I gave the Minnesota Vikings everything I had week in and week out. I fought hard and that's what they paid me to do, go out and try to help my team win games. I think with everything I laid on the line week in and week out that I gave it my all. The only regrets I have are going to the NFC Championship twice and coming home empty handed."


6) I couldn't let the 2004 season finale against Washington go. I painted that picture one more time and asked Moss to try and explain.

'‘I think I walked off with four seconds to go. The Redskins had the ball. If the fans, if the press, if they would've been in practice all week, starting that Monday through Sunday, that was a game where we could've made the playoffs. We had guys laying it down, not really fighting as hard as they should. All week it was BS, people not really doing what they should. I think a little bit of frustration had set in. I had high hopes of us going to Washington, winning the game, and going to the playoffs. I think I apologized to my teammates. The media made a big deal because it was me. It was something small and was made into something big.

7) Things got ugly before and after the trade from Minnesota, with Vikings players and management saying unflattering things about why Moss needed to go.

Was Moss the scapegoat? Was he treated right?

'No. I don't think they kept it professional, where they were leaning and why they said they traded me. I thought we could do something special in Minnesota. All we needed to do was get a couple of defensive players. Now they have that but their offense sucks. You see when I left, the organization went down. Obviously I was not the reason the organization was what it was.'

8) The 2005 season was difficult for Moss, who had to deal with several nicks that kept him from playing at full healthy. So we peppered him with questions about his current physical condition.

Moss told us, "I'm pretty much back to 100%. Last year was so frustrating because I think, with my injury, I could've probably taken a couple of weeks off but I personally had some high hopes for the Raider team to try to have a push for the playoffs to prove the critics wrong. So if people were wondering why I kept playing nicked up, that's the reason why. I wanted to help my team do whatever they can to make a playoff push.

"I fought through it. I've rehabbed this off-season, trying to get that part of my body, my groin area, a little bit stronger. So I'd say I'm back to almost 100%. I'm ready to go."

9) We also asked about the perception that Moss plays only when he wants to, a perception fueled by the receiver saying as much a few years ago.

"The reason why I said it was, you have all your critics telling you how to play the position I've played my entire life. You cannot compare me with a Mr. Jerry Rice, running the short and intermediate routs. That's not what they ask me to do. I run the deep patterns. I catch touchdowns down the sideline. I need to be fresh and ready to go for the 4th quarter. If critics don't understand that, well, they just don't understand.'

It was an earnest and passionate 25 minutes with Moss. It was obvious that there is still a lot of bitterness towards the Viking organization and he is still frustrated by the trade. But the receiver sounded very happy to be spending time with his family in the off-season. Moss is also very excited about his new business venture, opening up an Inta Juice franchise in his home state of West Virginia (www.intajuice.com). And most especially, he sounded excited about getting back to his old form in 2006.
Moss makes surprise visit to summer camp

By Melanie Crownover
For The Town Talk

DERIDDER -- "Get off the jam, I'm dropping bombs now," the coach in the Tupac t-shirt and white Yankees cap warns as the 12-year-old wide receiver in training takes off down the field.

"You better keep running -- I can throw a lot further than you can go."

As a testament to the teacher's threats, a slew of the boy's competitors are in the midst of push-ups on the side line. Five for a missed catch and five more if they forget to turn down field.

The football spirals wildly down the long arc to the ground and lands in the boy's hands as he flips backward to catch it.
Twelve-year-old Jeremy Perrodia of Lake Charles beams as legendary Oakland Raider Randy Moss points to him and brags, "Alright! I knew that was going to be a catch right there."

It is really more than most football fiends would dare to dream. A field full of NFL professionals taking a couple of days off just to play ball with you.

That dream came true for about 175 area youth as the second annual Willie Brown NFL Pro Football camp opened in DeRidder on Friday morning.

It seemed like the day couldn't get any better with players like Charlie Huff and Lorenzo Ward from the Raiders and Jackie Harris of the Tampa Bay coaching staff among those out to help Coach Brown school the novices.

Then Moss got in from the airport. He flew in from Florida to donate a couple of hours to coaching the wide receivers on offense.

"This is a nice thing Willie Brown is doing for the kids. Anytime someone like Willie Brown, who is a Hall of Fame-er, comes back to give back to his own hometown it's good," he says.

Despite his controversial reputation throughout his professional career, Moss displayed a natural ease with his young prodigies.

Camp founder Cecil Stewart's three-year-old grandson was even at the wide receiver's knee during each training maneuver, waiting for another chance to play toss with the legend between sessions.

But don't attribute that laid back demeanor to a more mellow Moss.

"People are just letting me be who I am now. When I came into the NFL, they wanted me to be a certain kind of man that I'm not. And I don't kiss no behind," he says. "I haven't changed anything except the intensity of my workouts." Moss also has the experience of taking busloads of children from his home state of West Virginia to Ohio amusement parks and professional sporting events to thank for his quick repoire with the kids.

Something about that "like me or leave me alone", "take no mess" attitude commands as much respect in the kids as Moss' status as one of the top wide receivers in the league.

A tight ring of boys stands silently enrapt with their hands mimicking the perfect triangle formed by the player's hands as he shows them his form for catching a football.

This is the lesson that changed Perrodia's day and made him the winner of the "top hands" contest at the end of the session.

"Normally I don't catch that good," said the preteen after beating the others at catching successively longer passes from Moss. "I learned how to form my hands in the right position to catch from him earlier, and it made all the difference." Perrodia, a self-professed basketball fan, says he has never played team football back home before but is considering trying out now.

The camp will continue today at Derrider High School from 8 a.m.-2 p.m. with the addition of a few more NFL players and coaches to help with training.

And as for the Raiders, Moss expresses a nod of confidence for the coming season.

"I really think we don't have to do anything extra because of who we have coming back," he says, adding that new quarterback Aaron Brooks is a plus and new coach Art Shell is the right fit to calm the in house chaos that prevailed last season.
Another blurb on Randy...

Randy Moss says the groin injury that hampered him last season is feeling better, and he believes the healthy legs of Aaron Brooks could make him the game's most dangerous deep threat once again. Moss caught only eight passes that traveled 21 yards or longer last season from Kerry Collins, who isn't mobile. Moss says Brooks' mobility will buy the Raiders' time for him to get deep and catch the 14 or 15 long passes he grew accustomed to with the Vikings.
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