So long, Randy Moss | Bleader

So long, Randy Moss

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The wide receiver who for a few years actually made Daunte Culpepper look like a legit quarterback by catching jump ball after jump ball has called it quits. Randy Moss announced today that he's decided to retire. It's not terribly shocking for Moss to bow out now—since being traded back to the Vikings by the Patriots last year, he has had little impact on league statistics, finishing out the 2010 season with a schizophrenic Titans team where he caught a grand total of six passes for 80 yards in eight games.

Tall, lanky, and fast as all hell, Moss swaggered into the league in 1998 with the Vikings, quickly establishing himself as one of the best receivers of the long ball. That Vikings team was straight stacked, featuring the league's number one offense. With fellow wide receiver Cris Carter, a rejuvenated quarterback in Randall Cunningham, running back Robert Smith, and others, the Vikings went 15-1 in the regular season and lost to an inferior Atlanta Falcons team in the NFC Championship. While most super talents had to wallow in misery for a couple of seasons after being drafted by lowly teams, Moss never had to settle into a losing situation. He was lumped into a receiving core with one of the NFL's best receivers of all time in Carter and was allowed to run wild, especially deep. His antics (which strangely enough resulted in his being drafted later in the first round and being thrown into an ideal situation) were tolerated because of his talent, and the team went to the playoffs his first three seasons.

One of the best Moss moments was during the team's mildly shocking defeat of the Green Bay Packers (longtime home of thee who shall not be named) in the 2004 wild card game. It wound up being Moss's final season with the Vikings before heading to the Raiders, and he decided to show the Packers fans how much he had appreciated them throughout his tenure in Minnesota by "mooning" the crowd following a crucial, punch-in-the-stomach touchdown. The fourth quarter celebration was funny, goofballish, and probably maddening to some (it happened during the olden days when you were actually allowed to celebrate after you did something worth celebrating). Joe Buck, being the stick-in-the-mud that he is, takes the whole thing so very seriously, scorning Moss and preaching, preaching, preaching, like he does. Check out the video below (sorry for the quality):

Following his anticlimactic, tumultuous stint with the woeful Raiders, Moss reasserted himself in his first season with the Patriots juggernaut of an offense. His 2007 statistics bordered on unfair: 98 receptions, 1,493 yards, 23 touchdowns. Again, Moss had been thrown onto an explosive team that was willing to put up with his antics for the sake of his talent. He excelled, and the Patriots cakewalked into the playoffs with a 16-0 record. This time, though, Moss was upset in the Super Bowl by an inferior team. After two more successful seasons with the Patriots, one not resulting in a trip to the playoffs and the other resulting in an early exit from the playoffs, Moss's hot head started getting the better of him as he began declaring that he "did not feel wanted" by the Patriots. Fed up and just plain exasperated, the Patriots dealt him back to the Vikings, and Moss floated off into obscurity, with few teams willing to even bother with the risk/reward.

Career stats: 954 receptions, 14,858 yards, 153 touchdowns

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