FOXBOROUGH — Patriots coach Bill Belichick met with the media today at Gillette Stadium to “shed a little light” on the trade Wednesday of Randy Moss to the Minnesota Vikings for a reported third-round pick in the 2011 draft.
“Randy was really a pleasure to coach while he had him on our team and he made a lot of contributions to this football team,” Belichick said. “I spoke with Randy [Wednesday] morning and our conversation was consistent with what they’ve been over the last four years: honest, open, very forthright.
“We talked about a lot of things, which I’ll keep between Randy and myself,” Belichick said. “In the end, it was a difficult decision, but one I feel is in the best interest of the football team. Organizationally, we’ve had conversations and obviously are comfortable with the trade and we wish Randy the absolute best.
“He’s been a player I’ve always had a good relationship with, and he’s been very honest when I’ve asked him questions about football, personnel and things like that,” Belichick said. “He’s been very helpful to me, personally, and very professional, a good teammate, and a good contributing member of this team.
“In the end, that was the decision and I have confidence in our players, if they continue to work hard and improve that we’ll be competitive and we’ll be able to win games and that’s what we’re here to do; to win games.”
But the Patriots will have to do so from here on without Moss, who will return to Foxborough Oct. 31 with the Vikings.
Belichick declined to say what, specifically, led the team to jettison Moss, but he tried to dispel two notions.
“It’s a combination of things,” he said. “But I will say this there was never any incident or discipline problem with Randy because there never has been one with me in four years and it certainly wasn’t about contract or money.
“I think Randy showed and proved the first year he was here what that was all about,” Belichick said. “He re-did his contract and made the whole deal work, so I think you can eliminate those two things.”
Moss took a substantial pay cut to leave Oakland when he was traded to New England in 2007 and, after making 98 receptions for 1,493 yards and an NFL single-season record 23 touchdowns, was awarded a three-year, $27 million extension, with $14 million guaranteed.
There were several reports after the Patriots’ victory over the Dolphins in Miami Monday night that Moss had verbally confronted quarterbacks coach Bill O’Brien, but Belichick disputed that saying, “There’s no incident and I’ve never had one — ever — not four years.”
Belichick also refuted reports that he and Moss engaged in a conversation on the plane back from Miami. “Absolutely not true,” he said. “A total fabrication. I didn’t talk to Randy on the plane.”
Quarterback Tom Brady seemed to be most impacted by Moss’ departure to Minnesota. But when asked if Brady was allowed to offer any input, Belichick replied, tersely, “Tom doesn’t make personnel decisions.” Asked if Brady tried to lobby the team on Moss’s behalf, Belichick said, “Tom’s a player.”