A gentle Pat

Receiver disappoints anyone expecting fireworks

On Randy Moss' media hour

January 30, 2008|By DAVID STEELE

Glendale, Ariz. — Glendale, Ariz.-- --Randy Moss weaved through the crowd of teammates and media, past a female reporter in a bridal mini-gown, to his booth for his first Super Bowl media day.

"What's happening?" he yelped as a hearty greeting to the throng awaiting him.

An hour later, Moss concluded his session with, "That's it - yeah!"

He grabbed the knick-knack presented him by a tabloid TV show, jumped from his seat, posed with teammate Tom Brady a few times and headed to the New England Patriots' team photo.

Those two moments, start and finish, were as animated and colorful as he got yesterday during his time on the hot seat - or, based on the traffic jam near him as the session began, what everybody assumed would be the hot seat, the hottest for any Patriot at University of Phoenix Stadium on this traditional day of meticulously scripted zaniness.

Moss did admit that he was there because if he didn't show up, "the NFL would fine us." But when he did talk, compared to what was expected, he was almost boring. The crowd thinned as he spoke, and after 20 minutes his location was no more of a circus than any other player's.

Moss was just too thoughtful, reflective, introspective and reasonable to set off the anticipated fireworks. He truly was ... what's the word? ... mature.

"I think how I approached the game when I was younger, I was very angry. Not at anyone in particular, but at the game of football," he said early on. "Now, I still carry that chip on my shoulder, but now I do understand that I'm a little bit older."

An elder statesman, in fact, a wise veteran, he added, one who has no problem allowing teammates to benefit from the multiple coverage on him and, thus, his lack of action in the Patriots' two AFC playoff wins. "It's a team sport, so it's up to other guys to make things happen," he said.

"My process of playing four quarters and not receiving the ball, or even seeing the ball," he went on, clearly choosing his words carefully, "I think earlier in my career I would have probably tried to voice my opinion in certain plays and certain ways. But we have younger guys ... guys whose bodies are a little bit fresher than mine. Now that I know I'm a little bit older, and their bodies are a little bit fresher than mine, anything that will contribute to a victory, I'm willing."

That was a big button all assembled were expecting to trigger a potentially memorable reaction. Moss consciously disconnected it. He disconnected all of them. And his hour yesterday was devoted partially to a trip through his often-controversial past, a review of his best and worst. His earlier days with the Minnesota Vikings, the move to the Oakland Raiders that turned into a letdown in every way, his renaissance in New England. The indelible moments - walking off the field before a game was over, fake-mooning the road crowd at a playoff game, declaring, "I play when I want to play."

Even his current situation with a female acquaintance in Florida whose restraining order against him alleging battery was extended Monday, and which he had to address at length the week of the AFC title game. He evaded at least two direct questions about it yesterday - but did so calmly and patiently.

"Off-field situations I really don't want to discuss today," he said, adding, "Man, it's the Super Bowl. I'm not considering anything negative at this time."

Asked whether he regretted anything he had done in the past, he didn't hesitate, but didn't so much as alter the pitch of his voice. "Not at all. What can I take back?" he said. "I am who I am, and I am going to do what I want to do and say what I want to say. I can't say I regret things, because it's already happened. There's nothing I can do."

Attribute it to Moss' acceptance of the Patriot Way, or to the fact that he is, after all, in his 10th season and two weeks shy of his 31st birthday. Whatever the case, his inability to be perturbed might have been the least-predictable outcome of the day - especially since he did say he played "angry" as a younger man.

"I think I've grown and matured, and I think the game has helped me grow and mature," he said.

So, no pyrotechnics, no outbursts, no reactions that would make Randy Moss' Super Bowl media day debut unforgettable and destined to live forever in cyberspace.

That's it.

david.steele@baltsun.com

Listen to David Steele on Tuesdays at 9 a.m. on WNST (1570 AM).

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