The Arizona Republic
Jan. 17, 2005 12:00 AM
Some players are worth the trouble, and Randy Moss
is not one of them.
I imagine Dennis Green thinks otherwise.
"He has not brought it up and I'm not sure he ever would," said Rod Graves
, Cardinals vice president of football operations.
But what if Green's plans for the 2005 season suddenly include another outrageous fantasy? Like Moss wearing red, a Green reunion with a monster he helped create? It is an idea that makes no sense, and that's exactly what scares me.
In the past three weeks, Moss has left nothing but red flags in his wake. He walked off the field before the end of a game at Washington. His mock mooning of the fans in Green Bay drew heavy criticism from the old guard.
In Sunday's season-ending loss to the Eagles, he again seemed like a disinterested observer, albeit injured, mistakingly leaving the field during a fake field-goal attempt.
Starring in his own postseason reality show has again fueled Moss' dark image, so much that the Minneapolis Star Tribune reported there are "highly placed members of the (Vikings) organization who are exasperated with him."
Whispers are growing that the Vikings may look to trade Moss simply to clean up their image, end a bad act and, most importantly, clear a great amount of salary-cap space in the coming years. There could be dealings with Baltimore, where the Ravens may be willing to send over a defensive starter and a No. 1 draft pick.
And then there's the Green factor.
To understand the relationship between Green and Moss, know that 19 other teams passed on Moss before Green selected him with the 21st pick in the 1998 draft. Moss became an instant superstar and Green stood firmly by his side, reveling in the role of genius.
The two became allies in a world full of haters, in lockstep to the end, when Green would be highly criticized for refusing to rein in the wild child, in effect creating the (erratic) player he is today.
Moss has never forgotten that show of loyalty. He's spoken longingly of Green in the past. And surely, the Vikings would rather have Anquan Boldin and a draft pick for Moss, wouldn't they?
One can only hope that Boldin's tenuous contract position with the team - a position that could ultimately lead to a holdout and trade demands - doesn't fuel this Moss fantasy.
"As much as we might admire Randy's ability on the football field, and as much impact as he may have as a player, how much would we benefit above what we have now?" Graves said. "Right now, we have needs that are of much greater priority now than that position."
Good, because this fantasy couldn't work here. A petulant force like Moss can only play where there's a stronger presence in the room, someone that has a firm grip on the team. Like Baltimore, where Ray Lewis runs the show.
Or like it was in Chicago, when Dennis Rodman was buffered by Michael Jordan.
Graves knows this perfectly well, and while that's comforting, he doesn't carry quite the oomph that Green does around Tempe. Judging by their comparative draft records, it is the way it should be.
But Moss? Please, Denny, no. Because we know how much you love bucking the system, which is why you took him in the first place. Because we know how stubborn you get when latching onto new ideas or old friends, and this guy happens to be both.
Reach Bickley at firstname.lastname@example.org
or (602) 444-8253.