Randy Moss may become one of the newest members of the Pro Football Hall of Fame later today. The former game-breaking wide receiver is one of the finalists, in his first year of eligibility, and is considered one of the favorites for enshrinement.
If Moss does get elected into the Canton, Ohio, museum it won’t be a surprise if the Raiders put out a release, celebrating and claiming him. That’s what the Raiders do. They embrace the past even if the player wasn’t much of the Raiders’ great past. That’s why the claim Eric Dickerson (one season as a Raider) and Ronnie Lott (two seasons) for being Raiders in the Hall of Fame.
If Randy Moss gets a bronze bust it will not be for his work in the Silver and Black. Moss was a Viking. And he was also awesome as a Patriot. Sandwiched (a poop sandwich) in between was two spotty seasons in Oakland.
Moss was a classic-late-life move by Al Davis. After wearing out his welcome in Minnesota with his penchant for taking plays off and driving people crazy (I covered Moss and the Vikings daily as a beat writer from 2000-04), Minnesota made Moss available. Davis bit. He sent the No. 7 overall pick in the draft, linebacker Napoleon Harris (a first-round pick three years earlier) and a seventh-round pick for Moss and his big contract. Davis always tried to strike lightning in his later years. Moss was lightning. Well, in theory.
His two seasons in Oakland were pretty much a bust. Yes, he had a hot start and yes, he dealt with a first-year injury in Oakland. But so much more was expected.
In 2006, with the losses mounting, Moss reverted to his cranky self and was questioned for his lackluster effort. When Moss was disinterested, he was not an impact player. That trait followed him for much of his career and if he doesn’t get elected later today, that could play a part.
Of course, Moss is famous for his “I play when I want to play” comment in his first go-round in Minnesota. I’ll never forget an opposing player telling me that Moss – while with the Raiders – -asked him about a potential business investment. On the field. During a game. Clearly, Moss’ thoughts weren’t always on winning as a Raider.
Moss’ disinterest in the Raiders caused them to flip him to New England in 2007. The Patriots sent Oakland a fourth-round pick. That became defensive back John Bowie. Don’t bother looking him up. He didn’t do much.
So, Davis turned a first-round pick and a starting linebacker for two years of an uninterested Moss.
What happened when Moss joined Tom Brady and Bill Belichick? Well, let’s just say it’s another reason why most Raiders’ fans hate New England.
Moss may earn a gold jacket today. The Raiders may recognize it. But it really isn’t a day of celebration in Oakland. It’s just a reminder of a bad move during a dark time for the franchise.