Feb. 13, 1977: Randy Gene Moss is born in Charleston, West Virginia. He graduated from DuPont High School in nearby Belle where he was a standout athlete, named West Virginia’s player of the year in football and basketball while also playing baseball and running track. He helped DuPont win back-to-back state football championships in 1992 and 1993.
1995: Moss signs a letter of intent to play football at Notre Dame but the school pulled its scholarship offer after Moss pleaded guilty to battery stemming from a fight at the high school. A year later, Moss is dismissed from Florida State without ever playing a game after he tested positive for marijuana.
Dec. 21, 1996: Moss, a redshirt freshman, hauls in nine catches for 220 yards and four TDs from quarterback Eric Kresser in Marshall’s 49-29 romp over Montana in the Division I-AA championship game. “Randy Moss is, perhaps, the best football player I’ve seen in 24 years of coaching,” Grizzlies coach Mick Dennehy said after the game.
Dec. 27, 1997: In Moss’ final collegiate game, he catches an 80-yard touchdown pass on Marshall’s first play … and fumbles after a 38-yard catch on its final play in a 34-31 loss to Ole Miss in the Motor City Bowl. Final college numbers: 174 catches for 3,529 yards and 54 touchdowns. He scored at least one touchdown in all 28 games he played at Marshall.
April 18, 1998: Moss is selected 21st overall by the Vikings after several teams reportedly removed Moss from their draft boards due to his checkered past, and the Bengals passed on him twice. “Coach [Dennis Green] took a lot of heat for this but he just caught a steal,” Moss told reporters after he was drafted.
Oct. 5, 1998: Moss arrives on a national stage, catching five passes for 190 yards and two touchdowns on Monday Night Football in a 37-24 victory over the Packers at Lambeau Field. Moss also had a long TD called back by a holding penalty. “I’m very thankful to God that Randy Moss is on my team,” Vikings safety Orlando Thomas said. Minnesota’s victory ends Green Bay’s 29-game home winning streak, including playoffs.
Jan. 17, 1999: Moss catches five passes for 71 yards and a touchdown in the first half of the NFC Championship Game at the Metrodome but the Vikings lose 30-27 in overtime to Atlanta. Moss had one catch in the second half, for 4 yards. “Our problem was that nobody stepped up,” Moss said.
July 25, 2001: Vikings owner Red McCombs personally finalizes a deal that gives Moss an eight-year, $75 million contract extension – including an $18 million signing bonus - just before the start of training camp. Two days later, after a morning workout at Winter Park, Moss is asked his goals for the duration of the new deal. Moss replied: “Super Bowl, homeboy.”
Nov. 22, 2001: Days after catching 10 passes for 171 yards and three touchdowns in a 28-16 victory over the Giants – equaling his TD total from the previous eight weeks - Randy Moss explains his inconsistent play to Star Tribune columnist Sid Hartman by saying: “I play when I want to play.”
April 26, 2002: Vikings open mini-camp under new head coach Mike Tice, who reveals his plan for the “Randy Ratio” – getting Moss the ball at least 40 percent of the Vikings’ offensive snaps. The verdict? The Vikings hit the Randy Ratio just twice in 16 games that season. Moss finished with a career high in receptions (106) but a career low in touchdowns (seven).
September 24, 2002: Moss is arrested in downtown Minneapolis after he nudged a traffic control officer with his car. He issued a rambling, nine-minute apology a day later, then dropped four would-be touchdown passes in a forgettable 48-23 loss at Seattle.
Jan 9, 2005: A week after walking off the field before the clock hit zero in a three-point loss at Washington, Moss scores the game-winning touchdown in a playoff victory at Green Bay. After the score, Moss pretended to pull down his pants and shook his rear-end at the Lambeau Field crowd. Moss is fined $10,000 by the league for the stunt. Asked if he had already sent the check, Moss said, “When you’re rich, you don’t write checks. Straight cash, homey.” The fine puts Moss’ total to $125,000 in his seven-year career.
March 2, 2005: Moss is traded to Oakland, where he arrives to his introductory news conference in a limousine escorted by seven police motorcycles. “I’m in love,” he declared.
April 27, 2007: Moss is traded to New England, where quarterback Tom Brady agrees to restructure his contract to help the team get enough salary-cap space to sign Moss. The Patriots finish the regular season undefeated with Moss catching an NFL-record 23 touchdown receptions. The Giants, however, defeat New England in the Super Bowl.
Oct. 6, 2010: Moss is traded back to Minnesota. The reunion lasts 27 days. It includes a bizarre, expletive-laced locker-room rant directed at Gus Tinucci’s catering business, which provided lunch for the team. The final straw is a lackluster effort in a Nov. 1 loss to New England, after which Moss staged his own “press conference” asking and answering his own questions at the podium in front of reporters.
Nov. 3, 2010: Moss is claimed off waivers by Tennessee but never makes an impact with the Titans.
Feb. 13, 2012: On his 35th birthday, Moss announces he is coming out of retirement. He spends the 2012 season with San Francisco, helping the 49ers to the Super Bowl, but again comes out on the losing end.