From: Northern Minnesota
Moss loving the "Patriot Way" -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- T.O., Moss thrive in similar situations By Greg Garber ESPN.com (Archive) Updated: October 10, 2007 Comment Email After two forgettable seasons in Oakland, Randy Moss has been a dominant force in New England. "They're an indication of where those guys are coming from," said Robert Smith, a former teammate of Moss' in Minnesota. "Randy's coming from the Black Hole in Oakland and T.O. comes from whatever that was -- the pain medication and depression -- last year in Dallas. "To be through all that, and now find themselves in a place and a position where they can be successful, that's got to be the best feeling in the world." Both athletes, at times angry young men, brooding and misunderstood during their long and productive careers, seem to be experiencing something new: happiness and fulfillment. "Terrell's situation, basically, I think he's grown up," said ESPN analyst and Hall of Fame quarterback Steve Young, who threw to Owens in San Francisco. "I think it's a function of him being comfortable in that team setting. For Randy, with the moral authority in that Patriots locker room, he has absolutely no wiggle room. If he acts out, the players will go to [Bill] Belichick and say, 'Get him out of here.' "Both guys have found a place where they can become Hall of Fame players by rehabilitating their personal history. There's enough time for them to do it." Moss doesn't often reveal his thoughts to the media, but he does a weekly Q&A on his Web site. Both guys have found a place where they can become Hall of Fame players by rehabilitating their personal history. There's enough time for them to do it. --Steve Young, Hall of Fame quarterback "That's what really makes me laugh, when my soul is feeling good," Moss said in a post a few weeks ago. "That has a lot to do with being happy, being in a good environment. When my soul is happy, I'm happy. It has to do with all of my surroundings, from players to people." Owens had similar sentiments before the season began. "I am [at peace]," he told Texas reporters. "Anytime you can go into a season without any legitimate distractions, and it doesn't weigh heavily on your mind, yeah, you're going to go out there and play free. "You're just going to have an overall better feeling about yourself." Both No. 81 in your program, Owens and Moss are the same man in so many ways, as their careers have traced remarkably similar arcs: Scintillating talent. A series of dubious on- and off-the-field adventures. Consistently gaudy statistics with their first NFL teams, followed by a two-year sabbatical that ended with charges, counter-charges and, ultimately, failure. And now, in their 30s, they have sublimated their outsized egos and worked within the context of thoroughly professional organizations. Their success can be traced to the genuine relationships they have fashioned with their quarterbacks. Today their teams are both 5-0 -- in no small part due to their muscular contributions -- and look to be leading contenders for the Super Bowl. Is it too early to imagine Owens and Moss colliding in February? One of them could crown his career with the only thing missing from his rÃ©sumÃ©, a Super Bowl victory. How, really, did this happen? Moss: Feeling the love A year ago in Oakland, Moss suffered through the most unproductive season of his career. The Raiders, whose offensive line was abysmal, just couldn't get him the ball. Moss caught 11 touchdown passes in two seasons and was shipped on April 29 to the Patriots for the 110th overall pick in the 2007 draft. It didn't take long for Randy Moss, right, and Tom Brady to develop a winning chemistry. The deal, even in the narrow retrospect of five games, is beginning to look absurd. Through five games, Moss has caught 34 passes, leads the NFL in receiving yards (551) and is tied with the Giants' Plaxico Burress for the lead in touchdowns (7). Through four games, Moss had already caught as many touchdown passes as any Patriots receiver ever caught from Brady in an entire season. The prospects are terrifying for NFL defenses. The numbers, extrapolated across 16 games, would look like this: 109 catches, 1,763 yards and 22 touchdowns. The Patriots, of course, saw this coming. They assigned the locker next to Brady to Moss, now 30, and watched the chemistry develop. "There's just a lot of love in the air," Moss said on his Web site. You can really feel it, you can smell it, you can taste it. That's just something good that they have here in the Patriots' organization. There's a love that we have for one another." "We share some pretty deep conversations," Brady told reporters a few weeks ago. "He's a veteran player who has provided leadership in his attention to detail, his awareness on the field. Everybody's happy to have him. "I don't know what he was like before, it's the only Randy I know. The nice part of being here is you really just have to worry about yourself, and the rest takes care of itself because you realize you have a bunch of teammates that are doing the exact same thing." There's just a lot of love in the air. You can really feel it, you can smell it, you can taste it. That's just something good that they have here in the Patriots' organization. --Randy Moss Brady trusts Moss to the extent that he will do something most NFL quarterbacks won't; he'll throw the high-risk ball to Moss' back shoulder -- a pass that can easily turn into an interception. Against the perceived odds, Moss has bought heavily into the selfless, almost mythical "Patriot Way." "The Patriots believe in team," Moss wrote on his Web site last week. "There are no I's up here. When you put the team concept together and really go out and execute your game plan and make things happen, it feels very good." Moss has put his money where his mouth is. Due to earn $21 million in the two years remaining on his Raiders contract, Moss agreed to a one-year deal that included a $500,000 roster bonus and $2 million in incentives. His teammates say he has simply come in and acted like a professional. "He doesn't have to be the guy," Patriots linebacker Mike Vrabel told ESPN's Rachel Nichols. "He wants to be part of the team. He wants to be part of the piece that helps us go out and win games. "There's a lot of ways to be a leader. It's not just [that] you were voted a captain or you're the one hooting and hollering. It's the little things: He knows his assignments, where to line up, what routes to run. He knows what to do when Tom looks over and gives him a signal. Those are things that young guys can look at and say, 'Not only is he talented, but he knows what to do and works hard.'" Sound like lip service? During a second-quarter completion from Brady to Donte' Stallworth in Week 5, Moss actually blocked two different Browns defensive backs. Despite a below-par day, he was seen on the sideline laughing and joking with teammates. "There's a culture round here of just doing your job," Brady told reporters. "Players who come into this organization, they see it and -- that's just the way it ends up going." Smith sees symmetry in the evolution of Owens and Moss. "Being in this [broadcasting] industry, if they don't like you, people find what they're looking for," Smith said. "They use everything about you in a negative way to support what they believed all along. Both of these guys are incredible players, and to find themselves at the height of their games and in position to win the ultimate prize, well, I think it's great."