This business is all very interesting
FOXBOROUGH — Randy Moss forever will be inscrutable.
I don’t have a problem with that. Do you?
Why did he choose the happy aftermath of Sunday afternoon’s uplifting 38-24 season-opening triumph over the Bengals in which to have a public therapy session? Who knows? But Randy thought it was an appropriate time, and thus we were treated to another installment of that engaging football soap opera entitled “Randy Being Randy.’’
What are the four big points Randy wanted to make? If I interpreted his State of Randy’s Union message correctly, they were, in some order: 1. Randy likes it here; 2. Randy does not feel properly appreciated, either by Bob Kraft or Bill Belichick; 3. football is a business; 4. despite the fact that Randy loves playing football for the Patriots, and would like to continue that relationship for several more years, if no contract offer is forthcoming until after the 2010 season, Randy will take that as a “smack in the face’’ and will not re-sign with the Patriots.
Yeah, well, whatever. But it sure made for some good talk radio.
Let’s take a deep breath and examine the basic contradiction of his logic.
First he said he wasn’t appreciated, and if he doesn’t receive a contract offer before the season is over he will not even consider re-signing with the Patriots.
Then he said professional football is a business.
If pro football is a business, then feelings do not matter. It is good business for a professional football team to create an atmosphere in which players can function at their best. Amenities matter. A modern weight room matters. Making a player’s family feel welcome matters.
So what else do you need? It’s professional, remember? You’re supposed to be self-motivated. The pat on the back comes on the first and 15th of each month.
It’s a business in which continued performance matters. A 33-year-old wide receiver whose role is to “stretch the field’’ must be carefully scrutinized before an astute football management team extends a lucrative multiyear contract offer. A “businessman’’ with Randy’s experience surely can understand the need for the “businessmen’’ on the other side to perform due diligence before purchasing what he has to offer.
So if the offer comes a day after the season ends, rather than a day before, so what? That’s business. And let’s say the offer a day after the season happens to wind up as the best offer Randy the Businessman receives, perhaps by a wide margin. And let’s further say the offer is not only better in terms of dollars and cents, but one that comes from a team whose current quarterback couldn’t carry Tom Brady’s something-or-other.
Would it be good “business’’ to reject said offer simply because it did not come within your artificial deadline?
That, I suggest, would be very bad business.
Is it really true that Randy is unappreciated, or at least underappreciated by the Patriots? Does Randy really have reason to feel that way? That very question was posed to Bill Belichick late yesterday afternoon.
“I feel the same way as I have felt about Randy for the last three years,’’ said Coach Bill. “He’s a good football player. I’m glad he’s on our team. I think he adds a lot to our football team. He’s got good energy. Everybody likes him. He’s fun to have on the team and he’s a good player.’’
That doesn’t really answer the question, but what else would we expect?
What exactly does Randy want from his coach, anyway? Aside from lots and lots of plays whose primary aim is to hit a streaking Randy Moss 50 yards upfield, I mean. A steady stream of “Atta-boys?’’ A daily thank-you note? A promise to nominate him for “Player of the Week,’’ week after week, no matter how he plays in a given game?
But I jest. Randy did strike a chord by pointing out that all of us like a few words of appreciation every now and then. But after three full years here does he expect more than a perfunctory “good job’’ from Coach Bill? And I hate to do this, but I must. For $9 million a year, can’t he man up and go with the Coach Bill flow? Business, business, business, remember?
Now I’m just asking. Is he as caught up with the growing mystique of the camp counselor in charge of the New York Jets? Is Rex Ryan his idea of an appreciative coach?
We never will know or come close to understanding Randy Moss. He comes to us scarred from a life circumstance in Rand, W. Va., that it is impossible to relate to. None of us was recruited and then unrecruited by Notre Dame for personal issues, the beginning of a complicated “history’’ (his word) that led him to his strange news conference on Sunday. As he wryly noted, people always have something to say about Randy Moss.
Why, you might ask, is he here? It’s because the Raiders were very happy to get rid of him. One Raiders assistant was even quoted as saying that Moss had lost his legs, or some such thing. The Patriots obtained him for a fourth-round draft pick. That was 47 touchdowns ago.
Did he withhold his services at times in Oakland? Or was he simply victimized by atrocious quarterbacking? Probably both. Anyway, he’s here because there was a problem. In New England, there have been very few problems.
So it’s Randy Being Randy, and we can live with that. Next year? Who knows if there even will be a next year? Randy will play hard this year because it’s good Randy business to do so. All that really matters is that the quarterback is his biggest booster.
That’s the same Hall of Fame, Super Bowl-winning quarterback he’d be leaving behind were he to walk away from the Patriots. Oh, never mind.