The future Hall of Fame wide receiver has decided to retire, according to ESPN, which cited Moss' agent, Joel Segal.
Segal said Moss reached his decision after "weighing his options and contemplating offers," so that means the NFL jury has spoken. After seeing him completely tank in 2010, he was no longer worth the headache, and his statistical production was no longer great enough to match the question marks that swirled around him like a vicious, unpredictable tornado.
Moss produced like few others over the course of his 13-year career. He ranks second all-time with 153 touchdowns, fifth with 14,858 receiving yards and eighth with 954 receptions. Moss, Jerry Rice, Terrell Owens, Marvin Harrison, Cris Carter and Tim Brown are the only players in history who are ranked in the top eight of each of those three categories.
Rice (14) and Moss (10) are the only two players in history with at least 10 seasons with 1,000 receiving yards, and Moss set an NFL record with 23 touchdown catches in 2007. Because of his statistics, Moss is a surefire Hall of Famer, and he's one of the half-dozen greatest players to ever line up at the position.
If Moss' story stayed there, he'd be more widely recognized as the second-best wide receiver in history. But because Moss publicly said that he played only when he wanted, or tore apart some locker rooms, or allegedly ran over parking attendants, and on, and on and on, his legacy will forever be tainted.
There's not a doubt in my mind that Moss was adored by his Patriots teammates. All of them didn't feel like that all of the time, but he didn't destroy the locker room in an intentional fashion.
My belief, though, is that his teammates liked him too much, and Bill Belichick recognized that early in the 2010 season. They were drawn to him, and Belichick didn't want them to start practicing the same tendencies while believing it was the right way to conduct business. So Belichick shipped him out the night after the team's biggest show-me victory in at last two years.
At first, that third-round draft pick that the Pats received looked like a song, but when Moss' last season finally concluded in the Music City, it was obvious that Belichick's decision yielded harmonic results. Moss talked himself out of New England with an epically poor decision at a news conference following their season-opening victory.
He was then given a gift of an opportunity to rejuvenate his career in Minnesota, but he failed miserably while embarrassing himself by insulting the team's caterer. And when the Titans gave Moss a third chance, head coach Jeff Fisher obviously didn't see enough in practice because Moss was never on the field in crucial situations.
Moss did some great things for the Vikings and Patriots, but he hijacked his own fortune by leaving Minnesota (twice), Oakland, New England and Tennessee on poor terms. The wide receiver wasn't the victim of a witch hunt. He was responsible for his own reputation.
He would viciously swear at team staffers and degrade reporters for no reason at all, and his explosion on a caterer said it all about the man who didn't understand how to respect people the right way.
Moss wasn't always like this. He could be engaging, hilarious and extremely informative. When he was in a good mood, he was as fun to speak with as anyone around. It's really too bad that his engaging spirit was often overruled by his desire to be demeaning.
That switch could be so sudden, too. As it turned out, that's how his career ended. The downward spiral started in 2009 and spun out of control in 2010. Moss probably could have played somewhere this season, but if his agent's comments are any indication, Moss realized the market no longer valued his services.
Because of that, the silence with which he left the NFL spoke volumes.
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