The bottom line is that Randy Moss can’t – or at least won’t – guarantee everything will go smoothly now that he’s a member of the Tennessee Titans.
And make no mistake about it, Moss is a bottom-line guy.
“I keep saying time and time again this is a business,” Moss said Wednesday. “I think when people start understanding the business side of football it will make it a better league.”
The clear implication was that it was business – nothing personal – that contributed to his dissatisfaction with the New England Patriots, who traded him to Minnesota a little more than a month ago. Likewise, his attitude and actions during his abbreviated stint with the Vikings, who placed him on waivers after four games, was a product of business dealings.
The Titans hope to profit from the fact that they were the only one of the NFL’s 32 teams who made a claim on the 33-year-old with obvious Hall of Fame credentials. The first significant indicators of whether they’re headed for a boom or bust will be evident Sunday when they begin the second half of their season at Miami.
Even Moss, himself, figures it’s best to wait and see.
“Business-wise, I don’t really know,” he said. “I don’t really know about the business side of me being here, to answer (the) question is it better or not.”
Tennessee’s plan is to exact a much greater yield from its passing game, which enters the week ranked 26th in the NFL in yards per game but fifth in yards per attempt and tied for ninth in touchdown receptions.
For his career, Moss has averaged better than 15 yards per reception and more than 10 touchdown catches per season.
“We’re the kind of team that likes to take shots (down the field),” quarterback Kerry Collins said. “(Offensive coordinator Mike Heimerdinger) has always been that way and I think now with Randy, we’re going to continue to try to find ways to get those big chunks.”
Coach Jeff Fisher, as he has since the acquisition, expressed complete confidence in the stability of the organization he has led for more than 15 full seasons. Likewise, he saw Moss as no threat to the synergy and harmony he believes exists.
“I wanted him to know how happy we were to have him here, and secondly I wanted him to be happy to be here,” Fisher said. “That was it, that’s all I wanted to get across and that was covered in the first couple minutes of the conversation.
“ This is a good place to work.”
Wednesday actually was the second day Moss worked with the Titans. He and the rest of the team, coming of a bye, went through an abbreviated, closed session on Tuesday.
The veteran wide receiver immediately was a part of the first team offense.
“He’s learning the offense as quickly as he can,” Fisher said. “As far as him playing this week, he’s going to play. How much really depends on how much he’s able to absorb by the end of the week, but he’s really smart and he’s got a good feel already.
“… We’re happy to have him and he’s here to help us win games. That’s the primary reason everybody is excited.”
Yet excitement, while a valuable commodity on some levels, can fade quickly.
The Vikings were thrilled when they traded a third-round draft pick Moss, a player they originally drafted in 1998. Yet his time there was anything but business as usual.
A published report detailed his teammates’ disappointment over his behavior at a catered team meal, and Moss made no secret of the fact that he and coach Brad Childress had some philosophical differences.
“I don’t want to come here … I’ve said it before, I didn’t want to go to Minnesota and mess anything up,” Moss said. “I guess everybody blames me for it. I’m going to say it again, I’m not coming here to start no trouble, I’m coming here to work every day and hopefully win.
“I made Minnesota my home. I love being there and it just didn’t work out. I had my own beliefs and what I believed in and (Childress) had his. Am I bitter or mad that he let me go from that organization? No. You never know what the future holds. Right now I’m a Tennessee Titan and I’m here to do whatever Coach Fisher wants me to do.”
If things don’t work out here … well, that’s just business.