Sunday, October 31, 2010
Randy Moss declares media silence
ESPN.com news services
FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- Randy Moss was quiet in his return to New England only until the game ended.
Following the Minnesota Vikings' 28-18 loss to the New England Patriots, the Vikings receiver announced that he would not be answering any more questions from the media for the rest of the season.
Moss had not spoken to reporters since Oct. 13, taking a $25,000 fine from the NFL for failing to cooperate with the media. The money didn't sway him to open up last week in the days leading up to his return to New England, which traded him to the Vikings on Oct. 6.
"I got fined $25,000 for not speaking to you all. Me, personally, I really don't care," Moss said. "But at the same time, I do answer questions throughout the week. For the league to fine me $25,000, I'm not going to answer any more questions for the rest of this year. If it's going to be an interview, I'm going to conduct [it]. ... I'll ask myself the questions, then give y'all the answers. So from here on out, I'm not answering any more questions for the rest of this season."
If Moss is fined $25,000 for the remaining nine weeks of the season, including the week he was already fined, he will have paid the league $250,000. To put that into context, the minimum NFL salary for a player with zero accrued seasons is $325,000. A total fine of $250,000 would represent 4.1 percent of his Moss' $6.4 million salary.
Moss was making his return to New England after an early October trade that sent him to Minnesota. He was a nonfactor in his homecoming.
"It was hard for me to come here to play, an up-and-down thing. I was on a roller coaster all week," said Moss, who had one catch for 8 yards for Minnesota. "To see these guys running plays and I know what they are doing, I know what type of feeling they have in the locker room.
"I miss every last helmet in that locker room."
Moss' biggest impact Sunday was drawing two penalties during a late touchdown drive that got the Vikings back in the game, but cost them quarterback Brett Favre.
The Patriots were called for illegal contact on Moss, who was trying to get open for a pass from Favre before the QB took a shot to the chin and did not return.
Moss exchanged a long hug with Patriots coach Bill Belichick and several former teammates before leaving what was his home field less than a month before.
"He's a Hall of Famer. He made a lot of great contributions for this team," Belichick said after the game. "But today he was the competition. That's the way it is in this league."
Moss caught 50 touchdowns in 52 games during his time with the Patriots, but did draw a few boos as he and the Vikings took the field for their first series.
By the end of the game, Moss said some fans were cheering instead of jeering and he was touched by the reception, although still disappointed by the final score.
"I'm definitely down that we lost this game. I didn't expect we'd lose this game," Moss said. "I don't know how many more times I'll be in New England again. But I leave Coach Belichick and those guys with a salute: 'I love you guys. I miss you. I'm out.'"
Moss didn't see the ball until an 8-yard completion from Favre early in the third quarter. Fans barely had time to boo before Favre rolled out on the next play and found Adrian Peterson for a 25-yard pass that set up the Vikings at the 13-yard line and led to the field goal that put Minnesota up 10-7.
He was a nonfactor until he drew a pass interference penalty that gave the Vikings first-and-goal at the 9, then drew another penalty on the play that knocked Favre from the game.
"Whether he had 20 catches or zero catches, the main goal for us as a team is to win and that didn't happen," Vikings receiver Greg Lewis said. "So that's frustrating."
Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.