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ESKO… On Saturday evening former Minnesota Viking legendary wide receiver Randy Moss was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton Ohio. I didn’t watch a great deal of the proceedings, but I saw the final couple of minutes of former Green Bay star lineman Jerry Kramer’s speech and I saw several minutes of former Philadelphia Eagle star Brian Dawkins talk to the audience as well. Of the limited viewing I had, Dawkins talk of family and faith, and the sincerity with which he delivered it was maybe the highlight of what I saw of the ceremony. Dawkins played his final three seasons prior to retirement with Denver, but make no mistake, he was Philly all the way and is enshrined in their own HOF too. Then came Randy Moss. He opened his remarks by giving thanks to his higher power and he thanked the current Vikings ownership, the Wilf family, for what they have been doing with the team since taking it over.
He thanked the late Head Coach Denny Green for taking a chance on him and for being the driving force within the club that wanted to draft him. Former Viking and now fellow HOF member Cris Carter was shown nodding in approval and appeared to be fighting back tears at the mention of Green. Few ever doubted Moss’s abilities but there were substantial questions about his character at the time. When it was time to play though, Moss was all business. There were a handful of issues over the years, both on and off the field and many teammates and friends would acknowledge that he is a “different cat”. But, he was a different cat with hands and speed that few have possessed in the games history and that’s why he is now a HOF member. I think it’s fair to state that in speaking with a person that worked with him years back that he was actually a pretty quiet, decent person. There were occasions that mini issues became headline stories due to who he was. Did he goof up a couple of times? Without a doubt.
Regarding Denny Green, I find it to be an absolute shame now that he never got the accolades he should have, especially when he would have still been here to hear them. He accomplished a lot for an ownership group in his early Viking tenure that was, well let’s say they were sort of minimalist when it came to providing resources for the team to operate with. And not a one of them possessed the charisma and garnered the respect that one-time owner Max Winter did. And I’m not even going to delve into one Mr. Mike Lynn. Red McCombs changed that a bit when he came in, but in the long run turned out to be a lot of central Texas gas, as in hot air. His sloganeering wore out after awhile when it became apparent that he was in it for a new stadium and a quick cash-out at the taxpayer casino window. You know that old saying, we’ve been BS’ed by experts and you’re not one of em? Very applicable here.
I digress though. Moss spoke of his family and faith too. He spoke of a single black working Mom that sacrificed to an extent that most of us wouldn’t understand. He spoke of the pride of hailing from Rand, West Virginia and of what it meant to him and how that night was for each one of them and that he would be sharing this honor with his hometown. Randy’s talk wasn’t a slick, polished pre-packaged message that you would expect to hear from someone who was a professional speaker. But it was wholesome, it was basic, it was delivered quite well, and it was real. Moss would go on to play with the Oakland Raiders, the New England Patriots, back to the Vikings, a short stint with the Tennessee Titans that would end with his first “retirement” and then he would comeback and finish up with San Francisco where he started a mere two tilts and only have 28 receptions for the season before calling it a career for good.
So where does Moss rank in the history of the league? He holds or shares multiple NFL records for receivers, as well as Viking team records. On the Vikes he is second to only Cris Carter but got there in less games played. It should be noted though, that for all of Carters efficiency as a receiver, he never had an ounce of the flash and dash that Moss did. And I don’t say that as a knock to Carter, he was Vikings gold, but Randy was an entertainer, a guy who could yank the Purple faithful right out of their seats on just about any Sunday. On every all-time great list Jerry Rice is the consensus number one receiver, and right behind him is Randy Moss. I would say that that’s about right. At the same time, when it came to that excitement factor, I don’t recall Rice as being in the same league as Moss. He was seemingly but another steady Eddy. Many congrats to Randy on a career well done. There were some bumps along the road to be certain and I think of the quote of trainer Tom Smith when alluding to legendary racehorse Seabiscuit, who had many doubters along the way, “you know, you don’t throw a whole life away just because he’s banged up a little”. While a great deal of Moss’s “stuff” was self-inflicted, I tend to think that the good has far outweighed the not-so-good….
COLOR ME CONFUSED as to why fellow HOF inductee Terrell Owens chose to stay away from the event in Canton. But he did make it known upon his induction announcement that he would not be in attendance. Ok TO. This is basically par for the course for your years of behavioral problems and lack of class and maturity and at the end of the day I’m guessing that you weren’t even missed. You have come across as a dysfunctional person for years, so no one is astonished that you decided to stay at home in your sandbox. Is it due to an extreme shyness or having to face the reality of being around others who have manners, gratitude and know how to successfully conduct themselves around others? We’ll never know because you didn’t show.
When the heat was turned up on him for this stance he made a statement that he was upset with the media/HOF voters because he had to wait for so long to get in. Well Terrell, Jerry Kramer just waited 50 years for his chance, and he showed up. I hope that someday soon you will be able to get the help you so desperately need… PEACE