UPDATE THE THIRD: Oh, wait, hold everything. Turns out maybe Brad Childress attempted to "establish dominance" over Randy by "going rogue", which would mean that now instead of one problem player to contend with, he has to face the ire of the rest of his roster, plus the consternation of team ownership.
But, then again, this story has now gone back and forth so much, I'm inclined to just wait a while to see how things settle out. No more tracking these zig-zagging updates, like a kitten teased with the beam of a flashlight on a wall, for me.
Well, until tomorrow, at least.
UPDATE 2: NESN.com fills me in on the waiver rules:
If the report is indeed true, teams will be able to sign Moss in order of the worst record to the best record in the league. That puts the Bills, Panthers, Cowboys, Broncos, 49ers, Browns, Bengals, Lions and Chargers as the teams with the first chance to sign him.
The Patriots, with an NFL-best 6-1 record, would only have a chance to re-sign Moss if all other 31 teams passed on their chance. Given that he's now burned through two teams in the matter of a month, teams will likely be very hesitant to add a player like Moss at this point in the season. It's not out of the question that the Patriots take that gamble, as they have an intimate knowledge of Moss from his three-plus seasons in New England.
As this story has unfolded, it's reminded me a little bit of the time Brady got hurt -- and my cell phone immediately lit up. A coworker told me of the NFL.com report almost as soon as it happened, and then another shouted to a third coworker in the office about it. That third coworker shouted back to the second that I should be notified; I shouted to both of them over the cubicle walls that I'd already been informed. Which was when a fourth coworker IMed me to make sure I was aware.
It's a warm and fuzzy feeling to know there are people who think of you immediately when something happens with one of your teams. And a little bit of a worrying one, when you start to wonder if maybe that's a sign you're a little TOO obsessed...
Anyway, one of my coworker-friends is staunchly of the mindset that if Moss could still play--to wit, still get open like he used to--neither team would've let him go, despite his attitude issues. I'm not sure about that...top-flight play hides a multitude of sins, but Moss is second only to TO in his ability to be a "distraction."
I'm curious to know what the peanut gallery thinks. Is this mostly a mental issue with Moss, or is it because he's lost value on the field?
UPDATE 1: Several hours after I wrote this post, NFL.com is reporting that Moss has been waived by the Vikings. I think it's safe to say he's worn out his welcome, and worn out any grace his talents might earn him, all over this league -- and yes, I'm sure right now he's DEFINITELY wishing he hadn't left New England.
On some level, I feel bad for the guy and think it's unfortunate that neither he or the Patriots can seem to benefit from each other anymore. On the other, he's had more than enough warnings and second chances for one lifetime, many more than most people who aren't preternaturally gifted athletes are afforded.
Meanwhile, there's also a tiny little part of me speaking up to wonder if New England might look to make a waiver wire deal fairly soon, if Moss seems sufficiently chastened and humbled by this experience...though that's just knee-jerk speculation. I don't know how the waiver rules would work in this case.
It's sad, really. I worried about Randy when he first came in -- he was more famous for being a recalcitrant malconent at that point than for his pass-receiving skills. And then, for at least the first couple of years, he was not only a model prisoner, but a brilliant complement to Tom Brady on the field. I got used to him, got acquainted with his sense of humor, felt bonded to him by our shared awe and reverence for Tommy Boy. I wouldn't have thought this was possible when Randy first came in, but in the end I'd developed a real affection for him.
And then this season happened. I'm sure there was a lot more to this iceberg than we fans have been able to see on the surface, but the downfall seemed to happen so suddenly it was hard to comprehend.
Then, yesterday, the Patriots reminded Moss in no uncertain terms (and reassured the rest of us) of how much more he needs them than they need him. They probably thought they'd told him from Day One that the moment he became a behavior problem, he was gone. They must've thought he understood how to play things the Patriot Way. For a while there, I had also begun to believe Moss really had changed his spots.
And then this season happened.
What makes it even sadder, in a way, is Moss's palpable ambivalence since the trade. The deal did little to improve either Moss's situation or the Patriots' deep-passing game, and feels like a big cutting off of the nose to spite the proverbial face. The Patriots still won the game yesterday, but as the dust settles on this whole mess, it's clear that ultimately, nobody really wins.
Per the inimitable Jackie MacMullan:
It seemed simple at the time: If the team won't pay me or throw me the ball, then I need to force their hand. I'll make so much noise they'll have to trade me. I gotta find me a team that will enhance my free-agent résumé!
No need to dwell on trivial details, such as walking away from New England meant bailing on a championship-caliber team that included one of the game's top quarterbacks and a Hall of Fame coach who resurrected Moss' career.
Hey, man, it's business.
Bet Vikings coach Brad Childress, Brett Favre and the boys loved reading the quotes that Moss was "disappointed" they didn't listen more attentively to his scouting report. I'm sure Childress, whose frosty relationship with Bill Belichick is well-documented, was heartened to learn that Moss proclaimed Belichick "the best coach in football history" within minutes of New England's crushing 28-18 victory.
The Vikings' season is on the brink of disaster. They've lost three of four, saw Favre get carted off the field with a lacerated chin that he said required eight stitches to close, and their so-called "money" receiver spent most of his postgame press conference pining away for his old Patriots pals.
"The captains, [Vince] Wilfork, Tommy Boy [Brady], [Jerod] Mayo, Kevin Faulk … I miss those guys," Moss said. "I miss the team." Later, he admitted, "I miss the hell out of them -- every last helmet in that locker room."
MacMullan's article is entitled, "Does Randy Moss want a mulligan?" I'm not sure of the answer to that question, because I'm not sure how much responsibility for the situation Randy is inclined to take.
But it sure has seemed that way.