The League

Leonard Shapiro

Leonard Shapiro

Washington Post sports reporter, editor and columnist who has served on the NFL HOF Selection Committee.

A destructive force


When truculent wide receiver Randy Moss announced Sunday he would no longer be speaking to the media again this season, it may have been the best news reporters covering the Minnesota Vikings had heard in years, almost as good as when Minnesota allowed him to depart for Oakland in 2005.

And then they got even better news Monday afternoon, when the sadly under-achieving Vikings simply decided to cut him loose, placing him on waivers and making him available to any team foolish enough to sign the classic definition of a cancer in the locker room.

It's been that way throughout Moss's often brilliant career. No one denies he's a world class receiver, at least when he makes the effort. He almost certainly will be a candidate for the Hall of Fame based solely on his superb statistics, though I suspect the discussion in the selection meeting will be as contentious as any I've ever heard over the last three decades.

But over the years, he has been a surly, snarling lightning rod for controversy and the ensuing criticism, a walking and hardly ever talking to the media distraction who defines the term. When he does open his yap, it's almost always self-serving, like his press conference at the start of the season when he moaned he did "not feel wanted" by the New England Patriots because the team had failed to give him a contract extension.

Enough was enough for Bill Belichick, who soon traded him to the Vikings, where he's contributed little since he arrived on a team now seemingly in total disarray, with a 41-year-old quarterback who would be best advised to avoid further injury and perhaps shut it down for this season, and forever more.

As for Moss, there's no doubt there's at least one remaining head coach out there who believes he can get Moss to play hard and make a contribution to his team and will take a flier on him off the waiver wire. Yes, the guy can play. But at what price?

By Leonard Shapiro  |  November 2, 2010; 12:30 AM ET  | Category:  Leonard Shapiro , Minnesota Vikings , NFL , Randy Moss , Washington Redskins Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati  
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