Randy Moss was a fine, upstanding NFL locker-room citizen through the 2012 offseason and training camp.
Just wait til the regular season, we whispered. Moss will become what Moss has always become in the eyes of past employers: more headache than asset.
"Moss impresses wherever he goes," we wrote back in May, noting that Moss had previously impressed the folks in Minnesota, Oakland, New England and Tennessee before departing each team amid suggestions he had worn out his welcome.
This history stayed in our minds when the 49ers gushed about Moss' commitment and professionalism during June minicamps. Moss' humility resonated as training camp opened. The 49ers lauded his character and goodhearted nature deeper into camp. Moss caught a touchdown pass in the opener, suggesting his addition was helping on the field, too.
More recently, questions arose over Moss' relative lack of playing time. But with Moss flashing speed and elusiveness during a 47-yard touchdown reception against Arizona on "Monday Night Football" in Week 8, the feel surrounding Moss' addition is positive.
Most telling, I think, are the recent stories explaining how Moss' blocking has inspired teammates. CBS analyst Rich Gannon had questioned Moss' passion for blocking when the Titans signed the veteran receiver in 2010. The 49ers' receivers have shown a passion for blocking predating Jim Harbaugh's arrival as head coach. Moss has, by all accounts, embraced the mentality. There are few better ways for a receiver to demonstrate his commitment to the team, particularly when that receiver isn't catching many passes.
Moss has 13 receptions for 235 yards and two touchdowns through eight games. His 18.1-yard average would be Moss' highest since his rookie season. The 49ers have a 6-2 record, which should make everyone happy. Moss has flashed with touchdowns in high-profile games against Green Bay and in the Monday night game. He has played roughly 20 snaps per game and appears primed to help as needed during the second half of the season.
So far, so good for Moss and the 49ers.