Pats prepare for opener: Sidelined Moss regular at club med
The veteran wide receiver is well aware of what he has been gathering the past month.
‘‘I will not be satisfied until I’m out there with the boys,’’ Randy Moss said prior to taking the practice field Monday. ‘‘That’s what I do.
‘‘I don’t cut checks. I don’t shine shoes. I don’t tape ankles. I play football. That’s what I came here to do. By me not being able to do what I love to do, of course it’s going to be frustrating.’’
Moss’ frustration began at practice on Aug. 1, less than a week into the New England Patriots’ training camp, when he suffered an apparent injury to his left hamstring while running a deep pass route for quarterback Tom Brady.
Since then, Moss had gotten well acquainted with the medical and training facilities available at Gillette Stadium, but the hands-on approach he seemed to rapidly be taking to the Patriots’ offense - immediately meshing with Brady at practice - had been disrupted.
Monday’s decision to release wide receiver Reche Caldwell, whose 61 receptions easily led the team in that department last year, would seem to indicate that Moss may finally be ready to play in a game.
‘‘I think the approach (was) to really fix and heal my leg up and really not have it lingering throughout the season (by) trying to rush me back,’’ Moss said. ‘‘Me and the guys in the training room got well acquainted. That’s one thing.
‘‘I mess with them every day. Actually, I graduated out of the training room so I go back and see them every day and cut jokes. That was the main thing they wanted me to do was make sure when I do go out there that I’m ready to go.’’
Missing four preseason games, even for a player in new surroundings, was one thing. Missing this Sunday’s regular-season opener with the New York Jets in East Rutherford, N.J., would be another.
‘‘He’s going to be a big part of this offense so the more we have him out there, the better it’s going to be for this team and he’s been working extremely hard to get back,’’ Brady said Monday. ‘‘We’ll see what he can do.’’
When asked about Moss’ status Monday, coach Bill Belichick uttered the pat answer:
‘‘We’ll take it day-to-day.’’
Moments later, Moss responded to Belichick’s answer.
‘‘I guess nobody is telling you anything, so I’ll just hold it a question mark, too,’’ he said. ‘‘My thing is that I want to play. Will I play? I don’t know. We’ll just leave it at that.’’
Acquired by the Patriots from the Raiders on April 29 in exchange for a fourth-round draft pick (defensive back John Bowie), Moss arrived in New England with an NFL resume that included 676 receptions for 10,700 yards and 101 touchdowns in 138 games with Minnesota (1998-2004) and Oakland (2005-2006).
Moss is years removed from his 100-reception seasons (106 in 2002 followed by 111 for a career-high 1,632 yards in 2003), however; his 42 catches for 553 yards and three TDs in 13 games last year for a dreadful Oakland team were all career lows.
The trade to New England was regarded by many as a potential boon to the career of a 30-year-old whose worth seemed to be fading.
‘‘I’ve been excited since Day 1, the day I talked to coach (Bill) Belichick,’’ said Moss. ‘‘I keep telling him ... I look forward to coming into work, to learn this offense, and their style of play. I’m still having fun, and that’s the main thing I wanted to get back to, to try to not rejuvenate my career, but make me get back, or let me get back, to doing what I do best, and that’s making plays. I’m still enjoying myself, still being happy, and I continue to do that.’’
- The Enterprise (Brockton, Mass.)