While whether or not Randy Moss is the greatest wide receiver of all-time is up for debate, there’s no question that he’s the most interesting. You know the Dos Equis guy? That’s Randy Moss in football circles.
He’s the most interesting man in the NFL world.
Quirky. Kind. Soft-spoken. Cocky. Enigmatic. Sweet. Supremely talented. The G.O.A.T.
These are all terms current players, ex-players, writers and TV hosts used to describe Randy Moss this week.
Jerry Rice may have the better statistics and the rings. Randy Moss has the better stories.
Here’s a collection of the best of ‘em:
The Athletic Freak
“It was probably my senior year and Randy’s junior year [at Marshall], and we were walking by a pool that was gated off by a closed fence. I said, ‘Randy, let’s go hop the fence and jump in the pool.’ He was reluctant. He didn’t want to. But I kept egging him on, ‘Let’s just do it. Let’s go.’ Finally, we do. We climb this fence and the two of us run to the pool. I get on the diving board — one of those big bouncy ones, you know? — and I do a cannonball into the pool.
"Randy doesn’t say a word. He just sort of nods at me. He, then, takes off his shirt, walks over to the diving board, and does not one — but two — perfect flips in one jump, and dives beautifully into the water. No splash. I’d never seen anything like it. I said, ‘Randy — what was that?!’ It was Olympic worthy. Really, a perfect 10. He could have won a gold medal at the Olympics with that one dive. But he just shrugged, grabbed his shirt, and said, ‘C’mon. Let’s go.’ It was nothing to him. That’s Randy Moss.”
— Chad Pennington, Moss’ quarterback at Marshall University
“I wasn’t friends with him or anything like that, even though we were contemporaries. But I’ll tell you this about Randy Moss — there’s only one player my brother Ronde ever lost sleep the night before over. That man was Randy Moss. When he wanted to be his best, he was a nearly impossible matchup. When he felt like it, he couldn’t be guarded.”
— Tiki Barber, former New York Giants running back
“When I think of Randy Moss, I just think . . . Wow. Our second Super Bowl year in Denver was his first year in Minnesota back in 1997. We were set to play the Jets in the AFC Championship Game, but really, we were already thinking about having to face Randy in the Super Bowl. We were horrified of that dude. Horrified. We had Ray Crockett and Darrien Gordon as our cornerbacks. Randy was 6-foot-4. They were 5-7. And he was a hell of a lot faster than both of them. We all knew we had no chance at stopping him if we’d played him in the Super Bowl that year. None. We had the late game on that Championship Game weekend. Once they lost — somehow — to the Falcons, we knew we were winning the Super Bowl that year. We didn’t have to face Randy Moss. The rest was easy. That was that. He scared the hell out of us.“
— Trevor Pryce, Denver Broncos, 1997-2005
“In 2002, we played him and the Vikings up in the Metrodome, and I’ll never forget this. He took a wide receiver screen — a 2-yard pass at the line of scrimmage — and he smoked the fastest player on our team, Samari Rolle, for a 60-yard touchdown. I’d never seen anything like it. He caught a screen pass, and then, on a dead sprint — just burned right past our fastest guy. “
— Eddie George, former NFL player
One of a kind
“Randy Moss was one of the best and one of the worst players I’ve ever seen in my life. Best, well, for obvious reasons. When he was on and the ball was going to him, there really was nothing you could do to stop him. Why the worst? Because I’ve never seen anybody who dogged it more when the play wasn’t called for him. A complete embarrassment. As a defensive player, it just kills you to see an offensive player with such unbelievable talent just not care.”
— Bill Romanowski, former NFL player
“There’s a commuter lane in California where you can avoid traffic when you’ve got more than one person in your car. Well, we get to practice one day, and Randy’s kind of off on his own, sort of laughing to himself. Someone asks him what he’s snickering about. He tells us, in that Randy voice, ‘Man, I was running late to work and I had to get there, but there was all sorts of traffic. I saw that commuter line and I had to get over there, but all them cops be over there waiting. So I did what I had to do. I put a little hat on the top of the passenger seat and I put my arm around the seat like there was somebody over there. Mannnn, I had do get to work.’ And guess what? He got to work on time. It worked.”
— Ian Williams, San Francisco 49ers nose tackle
“Randy has these flip-flops from the 1990s that he still wears every day. Seriously, they may be from his rookie year. They’re these ratty old flip-flops that are falling apart. He’s wearing them right now. He wears them everywhere. One day, he was complaining about getting crossed up by some kid while playing basketball. I asked him what shoes he was wearing. He said he was wearing those same flip-flops.”
— Chris Culliver, 49ers cornerback
“The two things I will always remember about Moss are not things he did on the field. One — when he pulled his pants down against the Packers in Green Bay in the playoffs. And two — when he had it out with the referee in St. Louis over some water. Tremendous player. And really, just one of a kind.”
— Chris Russo, host of Mad Dog Radio, SiriusXM
“Coach (Jim) Harbaugh put our high school yearbook voters in all of our locker rooms. So, he put Randy’s up there, and we were all dying. It was in like black and white. Couple of the young guys had all sorts of jokes. Someone said, ‘When was that photo taken, Before Christ?’
"And then, he just took off. He had a joke and an insult for every single guy in the locker room. He went one by one, in that voice of his, just killin’ everyone. And you couldn’t hear half of them, because everyone was laughing so hard. By the end of it, no one could even remember how it all got started. It was just Randy being Randy. None of that stuff was written. He just had a line about everyone.”
— Clark Haggans, 49ers linebacker
“Moss was fined $10,000 in January ’05 for ‘fake mooning’ the crowd at Lambeau Field after scoring a touchdown against the rival Green Bay Packers. And yet, Moss flippantly — and famously — brushed off the fine. When the media caught up to him in the parking lot, this happened:
Reporter: “Write the check yet, Randy?”
Moss: “When you’re rich you don’t write checks.”
Reporter: “If you don’t write checks, how do you pay these guys?”
Moss: “Straight cash, homey.”
Reporter: “Randy, are you upset about the fine?”
Moss: “No, ’cause it ain’t [expletive]. Ain’t nothing but 10 grand. What’s 10 grand to me? Ain’t [expletive] . . . Next time I might shake my [expletive].”
“We were at the Pro Bowl, maybe in his first year in the league. When you’re in Hawaii for the Pro Bowl, you get bombarded by autograph seekers. We’re all signing autographs, and there’s Randy Moss, in that thick West Virginia accent, just screaming, ‘I said, No! No! No! What’d I say? I said No!’ That was the funniest thing in the world. Really, it was hilarious. Here was his first Pro Bowl and he’s screaming at the fans. He’d just gotten off a 10-hour flight. And a cranky Randy Moss after a 10-hour flight? Not a good mix. “
"He’d had a rough week or two, then came out and scored two touchdowns against the Carolina Panthers. All the reporters huddled around his locker after the game and he told us, ‘Man, I feel like I have the weight of the erf off my shoulders.’ Not Earth. Erf. E-R-F."
— Albert Breer, NFL.com
“I heard one time that this actor I knew smoked weed with Francis Ford Coppola. And he’s telling me this whole story, and the only thing I’m thinking the whole time is, ‘What kind of weed does he get?’ When I think of Randy Moss, I think, ‘He must get just incredible weed.’ "
— Artie Lange, comedian
A Reporter’s Dream (or Worst Nightmare)
“He’s the least ‘Hey, how are you doing?’ athlete I’ve ever met. The guy doesn’t talk to the local media. He went a full year in San Francisco this year without one friendly media moment. Now, he hasn’t done it in a dismissive or uncooperative way. And you know what? He’s Randy Moss and he can do that.”
— Damon Bruce, host of 49ers pregame and postgame shows, KNBR, San Francisco
“Tom Brady always wanted to do his interviews at his locker instead of his podium. Well, Randy Moss’ locker happened to be next to Tom Brady’s. So, after every game, there was a giant crowd in front of Brady’s locker. Randy, though, didn’t want anyone stepping on or coming near any of his stuff. If you came too close to touching anything, Randy would just start yelling. It wasn’t bad yelling — he wasn’t cursing or anything — but he’d just start yelling at the top of his lungs.
"So, after one game, Randy decided to just put out a towel in front of his locker and he told us that we weren’t allowed to step on the towel. Of course, it’s an enormous towel. So, it became a weekly battle to get to Brady’s locker first, then get position so you didn’t come close to standing on Randy’s towel. That was Randy.
"And of course, whenever multiple reporters would chase after a player, he’d be sure to say, ‘There go the cockroaches.’ It was all in good fun, though, because he made fun of everyone. I loved covering Randy Moss. He was great. But not everyone did."
— Ian Rapoport, NFL writer, formerly with Boston Herald
“A female friend of his sued Randy while he was with the Patriots, claiming he’d injured her finger in some sort of tussle. Moss countered that it was ‘consensual horseplay.’ Eventually she dropped the suit. Consensual horseplay?!”
— Ron Borges, Boston Herald
“Following a loss to (the) Jets after he was traded back to Minnesota, we all filed in to see him and (Brett) Favre. Moss had his back turned to us and kept turning to see reporters there and hurled a string of obscenities at us. The young players around him loved it, saying, ‘You tell him, Moss man!’ They laughed at Moss belittling his audience, as he kept his back turned while dressing. ‘That’s the way, Moss man,’ they chortled as they exited (the) locker room.
"Finally, when the room was all but empty, Moss pulled on his suit coat, adjusted his tie, then turned around. ‘What can I do for you, guys?’ he said. With no audience of teammates he behaved perfectly.”
— Clark Judge, CBSSports.com
“In Oakland, he was not interested in talking. We would sit across from each other in the locker room and I would say, ‘Randy, one day, you’ll have to talk to me.’ He would say, ‘One day, I will ma’am . . . But not today.’ "
— Nancy Gay, FOXSports.com
“We were talking for 10 minutes in the locker room during media time once. I was asking him about all the different stadiums he’d played in and he was giving me just great stuff. So I take my recorder out, and he stops me, ‘Hey, I said no interviews, buddy.’ And I just said, ‘What do you think I’m doing here? I’m sitting in front of your locker during media availability. What do you mean, no interviews?’ He just puts his hand on my shoulder and says, ‘Sorry buddy.’ ”
— Tom Curran, Comcast SportsNet New England
“There are a lot of misconceptions about Randy Moss. His influence as a teammate helped me so much as a young player. My rookie year, I remember not talking to Randy at first. I was the young draft pick and he was the superstar veteran. He wanted nothing to do with me. I admired him dearly. I grew up watching him, loved his highlights. He was an absolute star to me. I was just a first-year guy.
"So, I went to work one day and I’d seen a rapper wearing his jersey in a music video the night before. I thought, ‘This is it! Finally, an ice breaker!’ We’re out there and I’m building myself up like a guy trying to speak to a girl for the first time. The video was Jumaine Dupri’s ‘Ballin Out of Control.’ I said, ‘This is the time,’ and I jogged up to Randy. I told him, ‘Hey, Randy. I was watching the new JD video and they had your uniform on. That’s pretty cool.’
"As he’s jogging alongside of me and slows down. Then he stops completely, looks me in the eyes, and just shakes his head and goes back to jogging. I blew it! I felt like such an idiot. I just wanted Randy Moss to accept me.”
— Nate Burleson, former Moss teammate
“We all grew up wanting to be Randy Moss. When he first showed up, the other guys and I prepared ourselves. None of us wanted to look like a goober or anything. When my brother and I played ‘Madden’ growing up, we weren’t even allowed to play with the Vikings. He was too good in the game. And now, he was coming to play on my team? That was definitely something cool.”
— Anthony Davis, 49ers offensive tackle
“He’s Randy Moss. If you burned someone deep, you got ‘Moss’d.’ That’s all we said growing up. That was the term.”
— Torrey Smith, Ravens wide receiver
“I still remember needing to wear his shoes when I played, no matter what they were. I wore them in a high school all-star game. Randy Moss was huge, growing up.”