|Bridget McKennitt (bridgetmkennitt) wrote in sports_rpf,|
@ 2008-03-23 18:59:00
|Entry tags:||misc: news, sport: american football|
Moss says he and Brady formed bond
March 22, 2008
By Anthony Hanshew
HUNTINGTON -- Randy Moss' Mountain State visit carried a kids-first theme, but the playmaking wide receiver did save some time to talk football.
Moss, Marshall University's first Heisman Trophy finalist and now a record-setter with the New England Patriots, once again is considered among the National Football League's elite wide receivers. Following a two-year dip in production, Moss rebounded with 23 touchdown receptions, a new NFL single-season record, last year with New England.
Helping lead the most prolific offense in NFL history proved vindicating for Moss, who admittedly heard and read doubters suggesting his elite status had expired.
"It seemed like within one year, I forgot how to play football," said Moss, guest speaker at Friday's Boys & Girls Club of Huntington fundraising dinner. "It kind of troubled me and bothered me, but at the same time that's what fueled me in my offseason conditioning and through training camp.
"The results came one game short of making everybody pay for what was said."
That game, of course, was Super Bowl XLII, a 17-14 New York Giants victory over New England. The shocking loss ended the Patriots' unprecedented 18-0 run through the regular season and playoffs.
Sparked by the first-year duo of Moss and quarterback Tom Brady, New England was a decisive Super Bowl favorite.
Moss caught nearly half of Brady's record 50 touchdown passes and they connected for a late score against the Giants.
In part because of his immediate bond with Brady, Moss re-signed with New England, agreeing to a three-year contract.
"Everything he does from being there early to work to working out to treating people good and also going out there and leading the team to victory is what I like about him," Moss said. "And that says a whole lot about Tom Brady."
Moss also teamed last season with fellow former Marshall wideout Troy Brown, a 15-year NFL veteran. Brown led the Thundering Herd to the 1992 Division I-AA national championship; Moss and Marshall formed a I-AA juggernaut in 1996, storming to a 15-0 national title run. Brown, who annually conducts offseason workouts in Huntington, formed a friendship during Moss' two-year Thundering Herd career.
"The bond and the relationship that me and Troy developed started back here at Marshall when I played here," Moss said. "... Troy has been a great man. He's a loving father, a great teammate and for me to be able to be in his presence and work with him is something I can take with me."
Brown isn't expected to return to New England, but Moss and Brady again will form arguably the league's top passing tandem. Boasting more than 100 touchdown receptions and 10,000 receiving yards during a 10-year career, Moss admittedly whas gauged his standing among the NFL's all-time pass-catchers.
"I do think about the Hall of Fame because I am on the way down of finishing playing professional football," Moss said.
That statement was in response to a youngster during a question and answer session at Friday's Boys & Girls Club banquet. Midway through the back and forth time with the crowd, Moss was asked to relive a signature play of his Thundering Herd career, his hurdling 90-yard catch and run touchdown at Army. More than a decade later, the play has renewed life as a YouTube.com favorite.
"I've made a lot of plays in my lifetime and that is a memorable play for me because of everything that happened," Moss said. "I don't really get excited about a lot of the plays I've accomplished, but from the start from Chad (Pennington) throwing me the ball all the way to the end zone, that was a good play."