In summation, Moss said he wants a new contract from the front office and is happy in New England. However, if he doesn’t receive a contract extension before next offseason, it would be a "smack in my face."
In the interest of making sure Moss wasn’t misquoted and nothing was taken out of context, let's start with his three-minute opening statement and follow it with his give-and-take with the media.
"Before I get to questions, man, I'd like to say something," Moss said. "I've been here for three years. This is my fourth season, and I understand the business end of the nature. And I understand you all have a job to do, so when it comes to football, I take my job seriously, I've said time and time again. But I think there's — I don’t really want to say here in the organization — but I think around here in the New England area, I think a lot of people don’t want to see me do good. And the reason why, I don’t know. I really don’t care, but I just want to let you all know, y'all [are] the ones doing all the writing — all the pen and the pad and the ink. I don’t have any, so anything I may say will get blown out of proportion.
"I think earlier in the week, I don’t know where he's at, but I got asked a question about me being here and being unhappy. Me being unhappy doesn’t have nothing to do with me toning my game down. I'm here, and I understand my role. My role is to take the ball deep and take the top off the defense. I think earlier in the week, a lot of people were coming at me wrong by me being unhappy. It's like, for instance, if you work for somebody. Everybody in here, you work for somebody unless you're independent, and if your boss comes to you, sometimes you want your boss to tell you you're doing a good job. You know what I'm saying? That’s every man or woman in here that works for somebody. You want your boss to be able to come to you and say he read your column last night or this morning, [and] he liked your column.
"And that’s just that way with football. If you do a good job and you think you're doing a good job, you want to be appreciated. I really don’t think, me personally, that I'm appreciated. And I don’t want y'all to take anything out of context that I'm saying because I am a man, and this is a job. I take my job very seriously to heart. I want to let you all know. I want to let the fans — the real fans of the New England Patriots — know I'm not here to start any trouble. I'm here to play my last year out of my contract, and I've said time and time again before I signed my first contract here I want to be here in New England. It's a great group of guys here, a well-coached group here, and I never said that I wanted to leave New England. But I think that a lot of things that have been written or been said have been looking at me in a negative light, and I don’t want it to be in a negative light.
"I just want everybody to understand. You can print it. I don’t care how you put it in your ink. I want to be here as a Patriot. I love being here. But I just think from a business standpoint this probably will be my last year here as a Patriot, and I'm not retiring. I'm still going to play some football. I just wanted to get that off my chest and let y'all understand, man, that this is a business, and I'll open it up for questions."
Moss was then asked why he thinks people don’t want to see him succeed.
"I've got a long history, man, and my history has nothing to do with nothing too, too bad," Moss said. "Everybody has a certain mystique about them, and I guess that people just don’t like the way I carry myself. If that’s what it is, then that’s what it is."
Moss was then asked who, exactly, he's talking about.
"I don’t know," Moss said. "Hell, I read. You know what I'm saying? You might not be one, or you could be one, you know what I'm saying? I'm not pointing fingers at any man, not any man or woman. I'm just telling you straight up. I mean, we're football players. Everybody is not going to write their column today [and] everything is going to be positive. There's going to be some negatives. But I'm just thinking that the journey that I've taken to get to where I'm at, 13 years, I don’t really feel that I'm very liked, and I'm not saying from you all. I don’t really give a damn if you like me, to be honest with you."
Then, more specifically, does he think the fans or media don’t like him?
"Listen here, what I'm trying to say is, look man, I get a lot of negative publicity just off any word that I say," Moss said. "Like, for instance, the word I used this week was 'unhappy,' and I don’t know who took it. Word got back to me that that started a domino by me being unhappy, but then I just told you about that you're working somebody and you have a boss. You would like to feel appreciated. I'm not saying that I'm not appreciated here, but I would like to feel that sometimes. This is my last year of my contract. There hasn’t been anything discussed. There has not been any type of anything said, not a letter, not nothing. I'm not saying that I want to stay here, but I love playing here. You know what I'm saying? If the future, my job, lets me go to another team, then that’s what it's going to be. But for right now, I'm still under contract for the New England Patriots, and I have a job to do. So I'm going to play my year out and do the best of my ability."
Moss was then asked if he realized how bad it looks that he's talking about his contract after his team beat the Bengals, 38-24.
"I really, you know what? I can honestly say this," Moss said. "I don’t really talk much, and I don’t want to take away from the win, but I think that before this season gets started, I don’t want to be Week 10, Week 11, Week 12, we're still sitting here talking about a contract. Basically, what I want to let you all know, I know that this is the last year of my contract, and I'm here to play it out. And I want to play some damn good football. That’s basically what I'm trying to tell you. I don’t want to wait until Week 12 or Week 13. Every week is not going to be good for me. I have two or three guys on me sometimes. You know what I'm saying? I don’t want to wait until Week 9 or Week 10 or Week 11, and I had a bad game and the table is turned on me. 'Oh, he doesn’t want to be here,' or he's this, that. That’s what I don’t want to happen. Basically, I'm not disrespecting the organization. I'm not disrespecting my teammates for the victory that we had today against the Cincinnati Bengals. But I think that this is my first time talking this year, and I want to get it out there. So I've definitely been disgruntled or disrespected. I just, like I said, this is my first time talking."
But, Moss was reminded, it will probably get spun that way, with people wondering why he was talking about his contract after a big win.
"Somebody is going to spin it," Moss said. "Just like I said, anything I say is going to get spun around, and like I said, I'm not trying to take away from the victory that we had today. It's been a long offseason for us. Bill [Belichick] put us through a lot of hard work, and from a physical standpoint, I'm paying for it. The victory today that we had against the Cincinnati Bengals was definitely well-deserved because we prepared for it. And by me ramping off for my individual, for me as an individual, like I said, I don’t want to take away from what we did today. I just want to get it off my chest because this is my first time talking this year. You're not going to hear much from me this year, so that’s basically what I'm trying to tell you. I'll get it out [of] the way now."
If the New England organization offered Moss an extension, would he take it?
"Look, I don’t want to talk about contracts," Moss said. "I just want to let y'all know that I'm here to play my last season out. OK? If [an] opportunity later on in the season presents itself for me to be a New England Patriot, I will accept that. But if it doesn’t, I must move on. That’s basically what I'm trying to tell you. Like I said, Week 9, Week 10, Week 11, down the road, I don’t want things to fall back on my lap. This is Week 1, so I'm trying to get it out there right now, so everybody can print it, write it, however you copy it."
What if the Patriots offered him a contract in the offseason?
"This offseason?" Moss said. "I don’t really want to get to that. I'm 33 years old. You know? I think that when you're brought into this league earlier, you're paid off what you're capable of doing. I've already showed that I can play still at a high level at age 33. So, for me to be offered a contract after this season is over, I think that would be a smack in my face, so I don’t even want to really get into that. You know what I'm saying?"
So if it gets to that, will Moss be playing somewhere else?
"Regardless of what I'm sitting here saying, y'all are going to write what you want to write," Moss said. "All I'm saying is I'm not here to start any trouble. I'm going to play my year out to the best of my ability and try to play some damn good football. That’s what I trained myself to do this offseason to come here and play some damn good football and help this team win, and that’s what I want to do."
Moss then talked about the physically-demanding offseason before he was asked how much it meant to hear Tom Brady say he wants him to stay in New England.
"It means a lot coming from Tom," Moss said. "He's the face and the leader of this team. We do a lot of talking daily, and Tom knows how I feel about this being my last year. Bill might call me in his office tomorrow, but then again, you all know this is my first time talking this season. Like I said, I'm not going to be up here every week, and you're not going to find me in the locker room. Well, you will find me, but you're not going to get me to talk because I'm not here to talk. I'm here to play. That’s definitely very, very helpful for Tom to come to my defense saying he wants me here because I love playing here. I don’t want to leave here. I don’t. But the business aspect of it, I've got to look out for me and my family, so that’s where I'm coming from."
Did Moss feel like you were misunderstood after the team charity event last week? A lot was written and said about him wearing headphones and not being engaged.
"Well, I really don’t want to get into that," Moss said. "That’s more in-house, so we'll just take it. I guess you'll write, or whoever wrote what they wanted to write, and my music was playing what I wanted to listen to."
Moss then discussed his best training camp as a member of the Patriots and his desire to escape from Revis Island next week against the Jets. After, Moss was told if he talked to the media more, there would be less speculation about his game or his state of mind.
"If I honestly cared about what you write or what you all write, then I think I would be up here talking to you every day, every single day," Moss said. "I probably have a couple of your phone numbers in my phone and vice versa, but I really don’t care."
But he seemed upset today, Moss was told.
"I'm not upset," Moss said. "No, I'm not upset. I'm just saying anything I may say, man, this is my 13th year. This is not my second or third year. You know what I'm saying? So, my 13th year in the league, anything that I may say, most of the time gets blown out of context or taken out of proportion. By the word that I used, me being unhappy, it's not that I'm mad or trying to be disgruntled. It's I'm hurt. You give me a word."
Moss was told he said earlier this week he didn’t feel wanted, which was probably less offensive than being unhappy.
"OK, so, well, OK, that’s a good way to put it," Moss replied. "But I don’t want anything negative to come out of this like it usually does. You chuckled. You know what I'm talking about. You know what I'm saying. I don’t really care about a lot of the extracurricular stuff about what you write. I know me. I know what I'm here for, and I'm definitely excited about this season. I don’t want people to take away from that. That’s why I said I wanted to get it out Week 1 and not wait until Week 11, 12, 13, down the road to get it out. You know what I'm saying?"
Moss was asked if he thought he'd get called into Belichick's office Monday due to these comments.
"Look, if I do, then I'm going to have to just explain to Bill how I feel," Moss said. "But, put it like this, it's already going to be headlines anyway, about me talking about my contract, so then again, I really don’t care. It's a job. This is a business. And if you understand the business, you'll understand where I'm coming from. But if you don’t understand the business, this is not football. Football leaves you in college and high school. This is a job, man. And if you understand the nature of this job, then you'll understand where I'm coming from. That's all I'm saying. I'm old, man. I'm old. I'm not ready to leave the league yet, but I still have a family to provide for. So all I'm saying is if I'm wanted here, I want to be here. If I'm not going to be here, then that’s it. It's as simple as that. that’s all I'm saying."
Finally, Moss was asked if he had a good relationship with Patriots owner Robert Kraft.
"It's fair," Moss said. "Mr. Kraft is a busy man, and he's not really seen around here a lot during the week, but on the weekends and things like that, oh yeah, he's here. We have a relationship. You know. Is it where I want it to be or where he wants it to be? I don’t know. I don’t really know how busy his schedule is. But as an owner, we have a fair relationship."