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Continued: Craig: Rewinding the Randy-Go-Round

  • Article by: MARK CRAIG , Star Tribune
  • Last update: August 8, 2012 - 2:28 PM

MANKATO - Randy Moss' mind and mouth always have been as quick and explosive as the legs that have carried him into the end zone via hyperspace 153 times in his NFL career.

Sometimes, the mind and mouth are witty, humorous and harmless. Like the time Moss was walking his dog in Minnesota and a curious reporter took a swing at small talk by asking him what the dog's breed was.

"Nunya," Moss said.

"Nunya?" the reporter asked.

"Yeah," Moss said. "Nunya ... business."

Other times, especially hard times, Moss' mind and mouth have gone much further south on him. They've taken this enigmatic man to a darker mood on and off the field and will threaten to keep him out of the Pro Football Hall of Fame despite being one of the greatest receivers the game ever has seen.

Two years ago, Moss' mind and mouth took both his career and the career of then-Vikings coach Brad Childress on a 27-day free fall with neither side owning a parachute. It was a classic crash-and-burn that could have been sidestepped had Childress consulted some of his veterans Oct. 5, 2010, the day before he made that ill-fated trade that brought Moss back to Minnesota five years after his first stint ended with a trade to Oakland.

"Oh, yeah, I knew that relationship wasn't going to work," said cornerback Antoine Winfield, who might face Moss briefly on Friday night when his comeback with the San Francisco 49ers continues with a preseason opener against the Vikings. "They definitely were going to clash. It was just a matter of how fast."

Real fast.

"I love Randy," defensive tackle Kevin Williams said. "But I don't know what was going through his head at the time. He and Coach Childress weren't combining real well. Vinegar and oil, I guess."

Finally, in the aftermath of Moss' bizarre return to New England to play the Patriots on Nov. 1, 2010, Childress told the team Moss was being released. This, of course, followed a 28-18 loss in which Moss put forth little effort and actually quit running on a pass that should have been a touchdown.

The final straw

It also followed a postgame locker-room outburst in which Moss told owner Zygi Wilf and other team executives in no uncertain colorful terms that Childress was unfit to coach and should be fired. After that, Moss went to a podium, told reporters he'd ask himself the questions and then proceeded to praise his former coach, Bill Belichick, while criticizing Childress.

"You could tell pretty early on that he really didn't want to be with us," former Vikings linebacker Ben Leber said. "If he was going to continue doing what he was doing, it was good that he was gone."

Moss wasn't released until Nov. 2, reportedly because Wilf spent 24 hours contemplating whether he should keep Moss and fire Childress, who had violated team protocol by releasing Moss without consulting ownership. Twenty days later, Childress was fired with three years still on his contract. He was 3-7 -- including 1-3 with Moss -- only 10 months after leading the Vikings to the NFC Championship Game.

"Having Randy around for a few weeks was interesting, to say the least," linebacker Chad Greenway said. "It made things a little more fun, but it didn't help us win many games."

Greenway's most unusual memory of Moss is one shared by most of his teammates who were around at the time. It was the infamous locker room encounter with the caterer from Tinucci's the Friday before Moss was released. In an expletive-filled rant that became a national story, Moss told the caterer, "I wouldn't feed my dog this ... ," um, stuff.

"You heard the statement, 'Oh, that's Randy being Randy,' but as a professional, there are certain ways you shouldn't act," Greenway said. "And that was certainly one of them."

'Perfect situation'

Moss spent the final eight games of that season catching six passes for 80 yards and no touchdowns for the Tennessee Titans. He and Childress spent 2011 out of football. Today, Childress is the Cleveland Browns offensive coordinator, while the 35-year-old Moss is in the Bay Area receiving high praise for his talent, his close relationship with coach Jim Harbaugh and, yes, his effort level. He's battling Mario Manningham and Ted Ginn Jr. for the No. 2 receiver job opposite Michael Crabtree.

"It's a perfect situation for Randy," said Winfield, referring to the team that played host to last season's NFC Championship Game. "It's all set up for Randy to be happy on a great team. He's going to prove a lot of doubters wrong."

Winfield said he'd play with Moss "anytime, anywhere." Vikings receiver Percy Harvin echoed that sentiment while dismissing the popular notion that Moss was a bad influence on him.

"My favorite memory will be him teaching me how to watch film," Harvin said. "He came to my house a lot and showed me how to break down film and really study. He was so smart that we'd be watching film with the coaches and he'd ask them questions that they might not have even thought about. I don't think people realize how much of a student of the game Randy really is."

Vikings receivers coach George Stewart said the year away from the game will put Moss in the right frame of mind.

"I love his mind, a great football mind," Stewart said. "I've never been around a player who is as intelligent and as smart and has a great football sense like Randy. He was able to sit down and ask great questions. Questions that made you go, 'Mmmm, this guy may have a future after football as a coach.'"

Coach Randy Moss? Now that would really be fun to watch.

Mark Craig • mcraig@startribune.com

  • VIKINGS AT 49ERS

    What: Preseason opener for both teams

    When: 8 p.m. Friday

    TV: Ch. 23 (100.3-FM)

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Philadelphia 14 3rd Qtr 1:19
Washington 17
San Diego 7:25 PM
San Francisco
Minnesota 12/21/14 12:00 PM
Miami
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Houston
Detroit 12/21/14 12:00 PM
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Oakland
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Arizona
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Cincinnati
Phoenix 99 FINAL
New York 90
Portland 6:00 PM
New Orleans
Utah 6:00 PM
Charlotte
Atlanta 7:00 PM
Houston
San Antonio 7:30 PM
Dallas
Indiana 8:00 PM
Denver
Milwaukee 9:30 PM
LA Clippers
Arizona 2 FINAL
Los Angeles 4
Colorado 6:00 PM
Buffalo
Philadelphia 6:00 PM
Toronto
Ottawa 6:00 PM
Montreal
Washington 6:00 PM
New Jersey
Tampa Bay 6:00 PM
NY Islanders
Florida 6:00 PM
Pittsburgh
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Carolina
Chicago 6:00 PM
Columbus
Nashville 7:00 PM
Minnesota
Calgary 9:00 PM
Vancouver
St. Louis 9:30 PM
San Jose
VA Commonwealth 68 FINAL
Cincinnati 47
Charlotte 78 FINAL
Georgetown 81
SMU 62 FINAL
Michigan 51
Louisville 76 FINAL
Western Ky 67
Mount St Marys 45 FINAL
American Univ 46
Abilene Christian 33 FINAL
Boise State 77
UMass Lowell 63 FINAL
Duquesne 79
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IUPUI 71
Ohio State 74 FINAL
North Carolina 82
Massachusetts 65 FINAL
Providence 85
Syracuse 77 FINAL
Villanova 82
Citadel 61 FINAL
Virginia Tech 64
Belmont 73 FINAL
Fairfield 61
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Binghamton 51
Montreat 64 FINAL
Campbell 90
Delaware 74 FINAL
Fair-Dickinson 76
South Florida 62 FINAL
Florida State 75
Vanderbilt 60 FINAL
Georgia Tech 65
SC State 71 FINAL
Houston 63
Missouri 59 FINAL
Illinois 62
Truett-McConnell 55 FINAL
Jacksonville 84
Toledo 83 FINAL
McNeese State 69
Elon 71 FINAL
UNC Greensboro 64
Drexel 68 FINAL
Penn State 73
St Francis-PA 73 FINAL
Rutgers 68
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Yale 60
PSU-Beaver 74 FINAL
Longwood 106
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Indiana State 56
Indiana 82 FINAL
Butler 73
Marshall 58 FINAL
Arkansas State 67
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Kansas 96
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Memphis 78
Western Mich 61 FINAL
Northwestern 67
Delaware State 70 FINAL
Oregon 83
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St Francis-NY 61
Arkansas Tech 57 FINAL
Stephen F Austin 94
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Texas-Arlington 89
UMBC 66 FINAL
Kennesaw St 53
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Chicago State 77
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Missouri State 65
UCLA 42 FINAL
Kentucky 83
UC Davis 81 FINAL
Air Force 75
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UC Riverside 78
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Coll of Charleston 68
USC Upstate 53 FINAL
Miss State 51
NC Central 94 FINAL
Miss Valley St 60
Illinois State 77 FINAL
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Northwestern St 89
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Pittsburgh 81
Detroit 55 FINAL
Rhode Island 69
Presbyterian 60 FINAL
UT Martin 77
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Wagner 66
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Wyoming 57
Iowa State 76 2nd Half 4:48
Drake 43
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Florida 46
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James Madison 60
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Michigan State 50
New Hampshire 54 2nd Half 2:45
Sacred Heart 70
Northeastern 73 2nd Half 2:11
Santa Clara 65
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Texas State 72
Purdue 46 2nd Half 14:31
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Sam Houston St 37
Xavier 29 1st Half 3:20
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Bluffton 6:00 PM
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NJIT 6:00 PM
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Marist
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UNC-Wilmington
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Pepperdine
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Towson
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UMKC
CS-Bakersfield 6:30 PM
Idaho State
Iowa 6:30 PM
Northern Iowa
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Texas
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TCU
SE Missouri St 7:30 PM
Arkansas
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Arizona State
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New Mexico St
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Washington
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Northern Colorado
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West Virginia
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Portland
Ball State 9:00 PM
San Diego St
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Utah State
Stanford 10:00 PM
BYU
Utah 10:30 PM
UNLV
Nevada 3 FINAL
Louisiana 16
Utah State 21 FINAL
Texas-El Paso 6
(23) Utah 45 4th Qtr 12:28
Colorado State 10
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Air Force 6
South Alabama 8:15 PM
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Northern Ill
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UCF
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So Carolina
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(25) Nebraska 12/27/14 7:00 PM
(24) USC
Livingstone 77 FINAL
UNC Greensboro 81
Loyola-Chicago 58 FINAL
Dartmouth 70
Georgia Tech 65 FINAL
St Francis-NY 59
Auburn 49 FINAL
St Johns 56
East Tenn St 56 FINAL
Jacksonville St 57
Western Mich 71 FINAL
Detroit 57
Cal-Irvine 42 FINAL
Wright State 80
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Kennesaw St 50
(7) Stanford 40 FINAL
(11) Tennessee 59
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Ole Miss 71
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(1) South Carolina 80
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Western Carolina 83
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Stetson 75
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ULM 53
Grambling 38 FINAL
Kansas State 61
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Wake Forest 64
Robert Morris 59 FINAL
Cornell 70
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Abilene Christian 80
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James Madison 85
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NC A&T 54
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Xavier 62
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Green Bay 60
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UNC-Wilmington 80
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Akron 97
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(17) Rutgers 66 FINAL
Iona 58
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Oakland 61
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SMU 55
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Purdue 65
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Texas Tech 64
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Middle Tennessee 79
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Bethune-Cookman 55
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SE Louisiana 69
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Jackson State 62
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Arizona State 81
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SIU-Edwardsville 77
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Minnesota 74
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North Florida 68
Montana State 61 FINAL
Washington St 82
Marshall 56 FINAL
(22) West Virginia 69
Morgan State 40 FINAL
Chattanooga 55
Northeastern 65 FINAL
Harvard 67
Furman 51 FINAL
(15) Georgia 58
(18) Michigan State 65 FINAL
(9) Baylor 84
Ohio U 52 FINAL
Massachusetts 59
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Texas-El Paso 86
Toledo 64 FINAL
Southern Ill 48
High Point 57 FINAL
(12) Nebraska 83
Winthrop 20 FINAL
Wichita State 66
William Jewell 59 FINAL
UMKC 51
Louisiana Tech 49 2nd Half 4:39
Utah 57
Southern Utah 39 2nd Half 7:42
Gonzaga 59
Hawaii 66 2nd Half 4:37
Loyola Marymount 70
San Jose St 50 2nd Half 6:21
San Francisco 68
CS-Northridge 46 2nd Half 8:04
San Diego State 39
Norfolk State 30 2nd Half 7:12
East Carolina 44
Saint Peters 42 2nd Half 3:40
Loyola-Maryland 51
Arizona 25 2nd Half
Stephen F Austin 23
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La Salle 5:00 PM
Georgia State
Oral Roberts 22 1st Half 1:46
Wisconsin 32
Florida Atlantic 20 1st Half 0:49
New Mexico St 32
(16) Oregon State 7 1st Half 17:30
Nevada 4
Sacred Heart 6:00 PM
Villanova
Delaware 6:00 PM
Cincinnati
Troy 6:00 PM
Tennessee St
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Utah Valley U
Washington 7:00 PM
UC-Riverside
Pacific 7:00 PM
Long Beach St
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Miami-Ohio
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Montana
Lewis-Clark State 9:00 PM
Idaho
(21) Miss State 9:30 PM
Illinois-Chicago
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Date/Opponent Time W L Score
2014 preseason     
Aug 8 - vs. Oakland 7 pmX10-6
Aug 16 - vs. Arizona 7:30 pmX30-28
Aug 23 - at Kansas City 7 pmX30-12
Aug 28 - at Tennessee 7 pmX19-3
2014 regular season     
Sep 7 - at St. Louis NoonX34-6
Sep 14 - vs. New England NoonX30-7
Sep 21 - at New Orleans NoonX20-9
Sep 28 - vs. Atlanta 3:25 pmX41-28
Oct 2 - at Green Bay 7:25 pmX42-10
Oct 12 - vs. Detroit NoonX17-3
Oct 19 - at. Buffalo NoonX17-16
Oct 26 - at Tampa Bay NoonX19-13 ot
Nov 2 - vs. Washington NoonX29-26
Nov 9 - Bye
Nov 16 - at Chicago NoonX21-13
Nov. 23 - vs. Green Bay NoonX24-21
Nov. 30 - vs. Carolina NoonX31-13
Dec 7 - vs. NY Jets NoonX30-24 ot
Dec 14 - at Detroit 3:25 pmX16-14
Dec 21 - at Miami Noon
Dec 28 - vs. Chicago Noon

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