NAPA, Calif. -- Randy Moss' large, bright purple SUV took
the prime parking spot for Oakland's first training camp practice,
nearly blocking the field entrance.
Yes, a vehicle in Minnesota Vikings colors mixed among all the
silver and black of the Raiders was quite the sight.
The truck features 30-inch wheels with sparkling, spinning rims,
tinted windows, no door handles, and a front vanity plate reading
"Tipp Drill 84" -- a reference to the superstar receiver's ability
to tip the ball to himself while defenders fall at his feet. The
plate is from Florida, where Moss has a home.
Moss certainly made his presence felt as his new team opened
camp at its wine country training facility Friday.
"I dig the color," said backup quarterback Marques Tuiasosopo,
who wore those colors at the University of Washington.
"I don't think I could pull that off," said veteran
quarterback Kerry Collins.
After the walkthrough, Moss stayed to work on a pass-catch drill
with 12-year-old George Atkinson III, the son of the former Raiders
defensive back and an aspiring receiver.
Then Moss made a quick exit, huge headphones covering his ears
and his braids peeking out beneath a skull cap. When he checked in
Thursday and hopped out of a limo to face a sea of cameras, he
said, "Forget it, man."
Moss joined the Raiders in a trade from Minnesota in March --
and, as usual, the spotlight is on him and no one else.
"I talked to a lot of people who've coached him, people who
have played with him and people who have had the opportunity to
watch him play," coach Norv Turner said. "And really the things
we've seen ... are the things people have said to me, a very smart
guy, a guy who's very attentive and wants to learn, a guy who's
going to help the young guys, and a guy who steps on the practice
field and knows how to go, knows how to work."
The Raiders don't care about any of the other stuff -- like the
SUV. They just want Moss to produce and help turn things around
after the team went 9-23 the past two seasons following its 2003
Super Bowl loss to Tampa Bay.
Moss is now wearing No. 18, his old training camp number from
his rookie year, since Jerry Porter had already established himself
with No. 84.
Moss has had his share of questionable antics.
He was fined $10,000 for pretending to pull down his pants and
moon the Green Bay crowd during Minnesota's playoff win last season
and also drew criticism for leaving the field with 2 seconds left
in a regular-season loss against Washington.
Other transgressions include bumping a traffic control officer
with his car in 2002, verbally abusing corporate sponsors on a team
bus in 2001 and squirting an official with a water bottle in 1999,
in addition to his infamous "I play when I want to play"
"Randy Moss is going to be himself, and that's the bottom
line," Collins said. "Guys will respect that."