In what will likely go down as the most entertaining postgame press conference this season, Patriots receiver Randy Moss spoke at length — for nearly 14 minutes, sometimes philosophically, sometimes contentiously — about his contract situation and his current frame of mind after the Patriots’ 38-24 victory. Here are the comments in full from Moss, who did not speak to the media during training camp, save for a 56-second interview with a CBSSports.com reporter.
Randy Moss: “We’re not going to wait on everybody, but before I get to questions, man, I’d like to say something. You know, I’ve been here for three years, this is my fourth season. And I understand the business, the nature, and I understand you all have a job to do.
“When it comes to football, I take my job seriously, as I’ve said time and time again. And I think there’s . . . I don’t really want to say here in the organization, but I think here in the area, I think here in the New England area a lot of people don’t want to see me do good. The reason why, I really don’t know, I really don’t care. But I just want to let you all know, you are the ones doing all the writing, you have the pad and ink, and I don’t have anything. Anything that I may say will get blown out of proportion. I think earlier in the week I got asked a question about me being here and being unhappy. And me being unhappy doesn’t have nothing to do with me toning my game down. I’m here, and I understand my role. My role is to take the ball deep and take the top off the defense. And I think earlier in the week a lot of people were coming at me long about me being unhappy.
“You know, for instance, if you work for somebody, and you work for somebody unless you’re independent, and your boss comes to you, sometimes you want your boss to tell you that you’re doing a good job. You know what I’m saying? That’s every man or woman in here that works for somebody. You want your boss to be able to say he read your column last night or this morning, he liked your column. And that’s just the way with football. If you do a good job and you think that you’re doing a good job, you want to be appreciated, man. I really don’t think that me personally, I’m appreciated. I don’t want you all to take anything out of context that I’m saying, because I am a man and this is a job. And I take my job very seriously to heart.
“I want to let you all know, I want to let the fans — the real fans — of the New England Patriots know that I’m not here to start any trouble, I’m going to play my last year out on my contract, and as I’ve said time and time again since I signed my first contract here, I want to be here in New England. It’s a great group of guys here, a well-coached group here, and I never said I want to leave New England. But I think that a lot of things that are being written or has been said is looking at me in a negative light, and I don’t want it to be in a negative light. I just want everybody to understand you can print it, I don’t care how you put it on me, but, you know, I want to be here as a Patriots, I love being here, but I just think, from a business standpoint, this probably will be my last year here as a Patriot. And I’m not retiring, I’m still going to play some football. So I just wanted to get that off my chest, and let you all understand, man, because this is a business. I’ll open it up for questions.”
Why do you think that people don’t want to see you succeed?
“Well, I’ve got a long history, man. And my history has nothing to do with nothing too, too bad. Everybody has a certain mystique about them, and I guess they just don’t like the way I carry myself. If that’s what it is, then that’s what it is. Hell, I don’t know. Hell, I read. You might not be one. But you could be one. You know what I’m saying? But I’m not pointing fingers at anyone. I’m just telling you straight up that everything is not going to be positive. There’s going to be some negatives. The journey that I’ve taken, to get to where I’m at, 13 years, I don’t really feel that I’m very liked. And I’m not saying from you all. I don’t really give a damn if you like me. Listen, man. What I’m saying is, I get a lot of negative publicity on any word that I say. For instance, this week the word that I used was unhappy. I don’t know who used it, but word got back to me, and that started a domino. But then I just told you all, if you’re working for somebody and you have a policy, you like to feel appreciated, you know what I mean? And I’m not saying I’m not appreciated here, but I would like to feel that sometimes, and this is the last year of my contract. There has not been anything discussed, not anything said, no type of letter, nothing. I’m not saying that I want to stay here. But I love playing here. If the future of my job let’s me go to another team, that’s what it’s going to be. Right now I’m still under contract to the New England Patriots and I have a job to do. I’m going to play my year out and do to the best of my ability.
Do you understand how bad this looks to stand up here and talk about this after a win?
“You know what? I can honestly say this. I don’t talk much. And I don’t want to take away from the win. But I think that before this season gets started I don’t want to be Week 10, Week 11, Week 12 where we’re still here talking about a contract.
“Basically, what I want to let you all know is that I know this is the last year of my contract, and I’m here to play it out, and I want to play some damn good football. That’s basically what I’m trying to tell you. I don’t want to wait until Week 12, Week 13. Every week is not going to be good for me. I have two or three guys on me at some times, you know what I’m saying? So I don’t want to wait until Week 9, Week 10, Week 11, until I have a bad game, and then tables are turned on me and [reporters are saying] I don’t want to be here. That’s what I don’t want to happen.
“So basically, I’m not disrespecting the organization, I’m not disrespecting my teammates, or the big win that we had today against the Cincinnati Bengals. This is my first time talking this year, and I want to get it out there. I’m definitely not being disgruntled or disrespectful. Like I said, this is my first time talking. . . . and anything I say is going to get spun around. I’m not trying to take away from the victory that we had today. It’s been a long offseason for us. Bill put us through a lot of work. From a physical standpoint, I’m paying for it. The victory that we had today against the Cincinnati Bengals was definitely well deserved. For me as an individual, like I said, I don’t want to take away from what we did today. I just want to get it off my chest because it’s my first time talking this year.
“You’re not going to hear much from me this year. Basically, that’s what I’m trying to tell you. So let’s get it out of the way now.”
If the organization caome to you and offers you a contract extension, would you sign it?
“Look, I don’t want to talk about [my] contract. I just want to let you all know because I’m here to play my last season out. OK? If opportunity later on this season presents itself for me to be a New England Patriot, I will accept that. But if it doesn’t, I must move on. That’s basically what I’m trying to tell you. Like I said, Week 9, Week 10, Week 11, whenever down the road, I don’t want this to fall back on my lap. This is Week 1 so I’m trying to get this out there right now. So everybody can print it, write it, and I don’t have to copy it.”
What if that opportunity presents itself in the offseason?
“I don’t really want to get to that. I’m 33 years old. I think that when you’re brought into this league early, you’re played off of what you’re capable of doing. I’ve already shown that I can play still at a high level at age 33. To be offered a contract after this season is over, that would be a smack to my face. I’m don’t even really want to get into that, you know what I’m saying?”
So you think it’s time to go somewhere else?
“Look, man . . . regardless of what I’m sitting here saying, you all are going to write what you want to write. All I’m saying is I’m not here to start any trouble. I want to play my year out to the best of my ability and try to play some damned good football. That’s what I trained myself to do this offseason, to come in here and play some damned good football and help this team win and that’s what I want to do.”
What did you mean that this offseason Bill Belichick put you through a lot and you’re paying for it physically?
“It’s just, [Bill] never let up. We started out from OTAs. You local writes know that Bill has given me a day off maybe here or there. I haven’t had any. From a physical standpoint, I’m kind of feeling it. Nothing bad, just old age, I guess.”
What part of your old-age body is feeling it?
“Probably lets. Lower back, legs. It’s nothing that a massage and a cold tub won’t cure. I’m not young. I’m old. For us to go out and play on this grass and pound on this turf doesn’t really feel good. I’m happy to be in this position. I’m very blessed, as I say time and time again. I just want to make the best of this. I don’t want this to be a negative. I want this to be a positive. Win or lose, I still want to come out of this and play good football.”
Tom Brady has gone out of his way to say he wants you and appreciates you. How much does that mean?
“It means a lot coming from Tom. He’s the face and the leader of this team. We do a lot daily talking. Tom knows how I feel about this being my last year. Bill might call me into his office tomorrow. But then again, you all know this is my first time talking this season. I’m not going to be up here talking every week. And you’re not going to find me in the locker room. Well, you’re going to find me, but you’re not going to get me to talk, because I’m not here to talk. I’m her to play. It’s definitely very, very helpful for Tom to come to my defense saying that he wants me because I love playing here. I don’t want to leave here. I don’t. But the business aspect of it is, I’ve got to look out for me and my family. So that’s where I’m coming from.”
Randy, do you feel you were you misunderstood at the team charity event, wearing headphones and not being engaged?
“I really don’t want to get into that. That’s more in-house, so we just take it, with whoever want they wanted to write, and my music was whatever I wanted to listen to.”
Do you feel this was your best offseason as a Patriot?
“Since I’ve been here, yes. And that’s why I’m very excited about this season. The Cincinnati Bengals are a very good football team, they won their division, they’re a playoff team. So for us to come out and be able to play some good football, man, we can hang our hats on today, but we’ve got a great task next week with the Jets. Hopefully, Baltimore will beat them up pretty good, or they beat each other up on Monday, so we can get a good game on Sunday. But I’ve definitely been up and down, because I don’t know what to expect. Only thing I can do is take care of me. And that’s to go out here and prepare each day, work hard and do whatever I can to help the team win.”
You excited to see [Jets cornerback] Darrelle Revis [who has had success containing Moss]?
“Am I excited to see Revis? I think I am, because there was a lot of talk last year. And I’m not taking anything from him, he did do some good things last year to be the shutdown corner that he is. And I’m not scared to say this – I prided my offseason on Revis. Like I said, I take pride in what I do, but what he did last year is something that … He opened my eyes up as a wide receiver, that there was a cornerback out here that I really had to get on my ‘A’ game. So I prided my offseason on staying off of Revis Island.”
All this stuff is said, and then we don’t have the chance to ask you about it, so …
“If I honestly cared about what you all write, then I think I would up here talking to you every day. Every single day. I’d probably have a couple of you all’s phone numbers in my phone, and vice versa. But I really don’t care.”
You seem upset …
“I’m not upset. No, I’m not upset. I’m just saying anything I might say – Man, this is my 13th year, this is not my second or third year. So my 13th year in the league, anything I may say mostly gets thrown out of context or taken out of proportion. By the words that I use, me being unhappy, it’s not that I’m mad or trying to be disgruntled. I’m hurt. You give me the word.”
You said not feeling wanted …
“Well, OK, that’s a good way to put it. But I don’t want to do anything negative to come out of this, like it usually does. You chuckle, you know what I’m talking about. So I don’t really care about a lot of the extracurricular stuff about what you write. I mean, I know me. I know what I’m here for. And I’m definitely excited about this season, and I don’t want people to take away from that. So that’s why I said I wanted to get it out Week 1 and not wait until Week 11, 12 or 13 down the road to get it out.”
Do you expect to called into Bill’s office tomorrow?
“Man, look, if I do, then I’m gonna have to just explain to Bill how I feel. Look at it like this – there’s already gonna be headlines anyway, about me talking about my contract. Then again, I really don’t care. I mean, it’s a job. This is a business. And if you understand the business, you’ll understand where I’m coming from. But if you don’t understand the business – this is not football. Football leaves you in college and high school. This is a job, man. And if you understand the nature of this job, you’ll understand where I’m coming from. That’s all I’m saying. I’m old, man. I’m old. I’m not ready to leave the league yet, but I still have a family to provide for. So all I’m saying is if I’m wanted here, I want to be here. If I’m not gonna be here, then that’s it. Simple as that. That’s all I’m saying.”
Do you have a good relationship with Bob Kraft?
“It’s fair. Mr. Kraft is a businessman. He’s not really seen around here a lot during the week. But on the weekends and things like that? Oh yeah, he’s here, and we have a relationship. Is it where I want it to be, or where he wants it to be? I don’t know. I don’t really know how busy his schedule is. But as an owner, we have a fair relationship.”