THIS STORY HAS BEEN FORMATTED FOR EASY PRINTING
Dan Shaughnessy

Hard to imagine comeback route

By Dan Shaughnessy
Globe Columnist / November 2, 2010

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There must be something about those interview rooms in the bowels of Gillette Stadium. The Razor walls make Randy Moss crazy. He gets on a Foxborough podium and goes nutty.

Oil Can Moss shot his way out of this town with his weirdo manifesto in the minutes after the Patriots’ season-opening victory over the Bengals in September. Two days ago, he got all goofy again after the Vikings’ 28-18 loss to the Patriots. His comments sealed his fate with the Vikings. He insulted his bosses and pledged allegiance to his old friends in New England. Yesterday Moss was dumped again, Vikings coach Brad Childress confirming the move last night in a team-issued statement. Try to imagine if the Dodgers had waived Manny Ramirez one month into the Mannywood days in the summer of 2008.

The big buzz around here yesterday when word came out that Moss was being dumped was the possibility the Patriots might bring him back.

Imagine . . . meet the new Moss, same as the old Moss. Bill Belichick gets a third-round pick, wins three games without Randy, then reacquires Moss with new humility at a discounted price for the final nine games of the 2010 regular season.

Brilliant. But unlikely.

The Patriots are better without Moss. I certainly did not believe this when they dealt Moss to the Vikings four weeks ago. I thought it was a signal that they were giving up on the 2010 season. But as always, Belichick knows his team better than us. Bill could not be more right about this one.

The Patriots are better without Moss because they are more like the old Patriots we came to know and love back in the beginning of the 21st century. Those Patriots stressed team above self, a mind-set impossible for Moss to grasp. Randy has no problem with the one-handed catch, but he can’t handle the concept that he’s part of a team. With No. 81 (or No. 84 in Minnesota) it’s always about Team Moss. It’s about touches and that all-important next contract.

Soon we will find out if anybody claimed Moss on waivers. It would seem to be a bad deal to get the trick-or-treat wideout at a lofty price ($3.4 million to pick up the contract), but it’s easy to imagine Jerry Jones delivering Moss to Dallas to appease a restless fandom in a sparkling new stadium. Ditto for Dan Snyder in Washington.

If nobody pays full price, Moss becomes a free agent and we find out how much his commentary diminished his value.

Moss did everything short of donning a WBZ All-Access red shirt when he was here Sunday. He visited with Bob and Myra, hung out with his BFFs Belichick and Tommy Boy, and made a new friend in Deion Branch. Moss professed more love for the Patriots than the cast of “The Big Show.’’ In the process, he tossed his new coach and teammates under the Oak Square Express.

Randy must have been miffed that the weekend turned into a Brett Favre Iron Man-palooza. Moss caught only one pass against the Patriots. Brandon Meriweather spent the afternoon playing 15 yards back to make sure Moss did no harm. Randy played decoy and stretched the field in a double-digit loss. Then he went to his last remaining weapon: his mouth.

“I am going to leave the New England Patriots and coach Belichick here with a salute,’’ he said. “I love you guys. I miss you. I’m out.’’

And so he is out. No longer a Patriot, no longer a Viking, Randy Moss is a disturbed talent in search of a team.

It’s hard to imagine Moss coming back here. There was a blatant contradiction in Moss’s homage to Belichick and the Patriots. Heaping praise on the Patriots is nice, but the notion of burying your own team and coach conflicts with everything the Patriots teach. I’m sure Coach Hoodie appreciates the kind words, but he knows Moss is a loose cannon who can disrupt your game plan. The Patriots got everything they could get out of Moss, but his skill set is no longer worth the baggage.

Belichick is vindicated by the release of Moss. Coach Bill doesn’t have to say a word. Once again Football America can see that Belichick was right. The Patriots have the best record in the National Football League and Belichick’s decision to release Moss was in the best interests of the Patriots.

Moss is a wildly talented and disturbed individual. He caught 50 touchdown passes for the Patriots. He delivered a third-round pick on his way out the door. Now he has been released by a 2-5 team and he’s looking for a new job and a future contract.

It won’t be here.

Unless Bill surprises us again and decides that having Randy Moss is in the best interest of his football team. At this point, who’s going to challenge anything Bill does?

Not me.

Never again.

Dan Shaughnessy is a Globe columnist. He can be reached at dshaughnessy@globe.com.

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