So the final image of Randy Moss as an NFL player is of him in a Tennessee Titans uniform.
Moss announced his retirement Monday after 13 seasons in which he caught 954 passes for 14,858 yards and 153 touchdowns. He led the league in touchdown receptions five times, topped 1,000 yards receiving 10 times and was named an All-Pro four times.
The Titans became his fourth different franchise when they claimed him at the mid-point of their 2010 season. He caught just six passes for 80 yards in eight games (four starts) and went three straight weeks at one point without a reception. Still, his brief tenure was recalled fondly by some of his final teammates.
“The locker room changed when he first got here,” wide receiver Kenny Britt said. “You could tell in the wide receiver meeting room … the spunk he brought to the team. … Just the aura of him being on the team was just a change for us.
“It’s sad to see him go.”
Despite his lack of productivity — relative to the rest of his career — Moss made no waves with public complaints or bad behavior during his time in Tennessee.
“For me, as a line coach, he actually came in and did a great job blocking — something he was never known to do and had no interest in,” coach Mike Munchak said. “… So we had some fun here with that, he and I did.
“I thought he was great here. He was great in the building and with all of our players. He challenged the guys. So he was nothing but an asset.”
Moss leaves as one of the NFL’s top 10 all-time in receptions, receiving yards and receiving touchdowns.
According to his agent, the decision was made in part due to the fact that Moss, a free agent, did not receive the type of offers he wanted.
“The main thing he did was believe in himself,” wide receiver Nate Washington said. “That’s what he taught us all the time — no matter what anybody says to always believe in yourself and carry yourself in a high manner. Much respect to that man.”
• Coming back: Defensive ends Jacob Ford and Dave Ball, and fullback Ahmard Hall all re-signed with the Titans.
Ford, a fifth-year defensive end, missed his entire rookie season with an injury but since has averaged 50 tackles and just over five sacks per season. He set a career-high with 67 tackles in 2010 but had just three sacks, his fewest over the past three seasons.
Ford, at 6-foot-4, 252 pounds, does not fit with the team’s attempts to get bigger on the defensive line and figures to be a pass-rush specialist in coordinator Jerry Gray’s scheme.
“I’ve been working against him as a line coach for a lot of years,” Munchak said. “I know his quickness, what he can do and the problems he creates. So I think Jerry is looking forward to using him in different ways.”
Ball (6-5, 255), another undersized end, set career-highs with 56 tackles and seven sacks in 2010, his third season with Tennessee.
Hall has spent his entire five-year career with the Titans. Outside of his role as a blocker (Tennessee has had a 1,000-yard rusher each year), he has been productive in the pass game with 64 receptions for 515 yards and two touchdowns.
“Ahmard is very familiar with what we’re doing,” Munchak said. “Obviously, he’s been a great [asset] for this team. We like to run the two-back offense and he’s a guy who’s been real good for us.”
The Titans now have 87 players, three shy of the limit, under contract.
• Hitting time: Monday afternoon’s workout was the first of camp with players in shoulder pads.
“I think guys felt each other out a little bit early,” Munchak said. “Then I think we had some nice hitting and some good work. It’s a great start as far as learning how to use their technique with their pads on.”
• Briefly: Free agent rookie wide receiver O.J. Murdock underwent surgery to repair an Achilles tendon, which he injured in Sunday evening’s workout. … Running back Chris Johnson remained a no-show four days into camp. … Britt (hamstring) and defensive tackle Sen’Derrick Marks (shoulder) continued to be held out of full speed and contact work.