In 52 games from 2007 to 2010, the dynamic deep threat hauled in 259 passes for 3,904 yards and 50 touchdowns, nearly averaging a score per game. While his 2007 season will be most remembered for the way he and quarterback Tom Brady re-wrote the record books, Moss even put up solid numbers with backup Matt Cassel throwing to him, snagging 69 balls for 1,008 yards and 11 touchdowns in 2008.
Yet for all his big-play ability, Moss proved to be a big headache at times for head coach Bill Belichick and company. By 2009 the receiver’s ego had clearly gotten in the way of team success as he loafed through plays and sometimes entire games, most notably in a December contest against the Panthers when Brady was seen having a lengthy chat with his top target. Following the Pats’ season-opening win over the Bengals in 2010, Moss predicted his exit from Foxboro, telling media members he didn’t feel wanted by his team. Then came chatter that Moss and Brady got into a heated exchange in the locker room during the team’s Monday Night Football win over the Dolphins in Week 4. Days later, New England traded Moss back to the Vikings.
Though Moss filed his retirement papers in August, the rumor mill is spinning that the receiver could be eyeing a return to the league, and that the Patriots would likely be his ideal team. Brady fielded questions about Moss on Tuesday and said he would “welcome him with open arms.”
Adding Moss — assuming he is in shape and willing to compete at a high level — would bring back a vertical threat the Patriots haven’t had since his departure. Despite going 14-2 last season, New England was stymied by the Jets in the playoffs, with New York coach Rex Ryan moving his safeties closer to the line of scrimmage and letting them roam free without fear of a deep strike from a Pats’ receiver.
Revisiting Moss could be a bad decision if the receiver reverts to his me-first ways, however. In addition, signing Moss would mean the team’s current crop of receivers (Chad Ochocinco, Deion Branch, Wes Welker, Taylor Price) and young tight ends (Rob Gronkowski and Aaron Hernandez) would likely not see as much playing time.