What is the thing that lives within Randy Moss that makes him flat-out believe he could make a comeback in 2015, and what is the thing living within me (and others) that accepts this as a plausible outcome?
In a word, covering both sides, it is belief — a belief wrapped up in a memory, but belief nonetheless.
Moss is 38 years old and hasn’t played an NFL game since 2012, when he caught just 28 passes with the 49ers. He hasn’t really been a big-time factor as an NFL receiver since 2009, his last 1,000-yard season (with New England). The next year began the down slide, including his ill-fated and short-lived (although awesome in some ways, still) return to the Vikings.
That is all meaningful context, but we don’t want to hear it. When Moss starts talking, it seemingly gets shoved aside and shushed like an annoying friend pointing out the 87 plot holes in a fantastic action movie.
“I actually have not lost the itch,” Moss told Curt Menefee of Fox on Sunday. “I’ve been working out with a few guys over the offseason. I have been retired for the last two years, but you never know, Curt. But it’s the love of the game that I still have inside of me.”
And suddenly we lose our minds. I immediately started scanning teams that could theoretically use Moss, settling on the Green Bay Packers because 1) it would be a great story, on par with Brett Favre crossing over in the border rivalry and 2) Moss’ declaration Sunday was paired so perfectly with unfortunate news of star receiver Jordy Nelson’s knee injury.
And, well, because 3) I want to believe 38-year-old Moss (not a coincidence, we are the same age) is somehow just a fraction less of a player than 28-year-old Moss and not a shell of his great self.
“Hey, I don’t know,” Moss continued in his conversation with Menefee. “The sky’s the limit for me, Curt. So we’ll just have to wait and see.”
Yes! Never say never! If Favre in purple (and to a lesser degree Moss’ return to purple) taught us anything, it’s that nothing in sports is completely implausible.
Moss, too, so badly wants to believe it. It doesn’t even seem to be a question in his mind that he could make a comeback. Even Favre as recently as two months ago, at age 45 and having not played a down since 2010, told Sports Illustrated, “I think I could play.”
It’s that belief that made them great, and it’s the greatness that makes us all still believe even when we know we shouldn’t.