Moss, whom the Raiders acquired in a trade for the seventh overall pick in the draft, shunned the media Thursday when the Oakland Raiders arrived for training camp in Napa, CA. Moss, who has been known as much for his mercurial personality as he is his talent, said he would speak "early next week" – and true to his word, he did.
"I'm taking this from a business standpoint and trying to help this team get back on top," Moss said. "The last couple of days have been great but it's very mind-wracking."
Moss brings his share of baggage, something that has never hindered the Raiders from welcoming a player who other teams felt were either too old or more trouble than they were worth.
Moss' relationship eventually grew progressively icier from the Vikings point of view despite catching 574 passes for 9,142 yards and 90 touchdowns. Moss, however, added that people should expect nothing less than him being able to mix well with his new teammates. Moss did not leave Minnesota entirely behind as he arrived in a people Chevy truck.
"If the antics come, I'm her to apologize first if it happens," Moss said.
The Raiders acquiring Moss is somewhat similar to signing defensive tackle Warren Sapp after nine seasons as a Tampa Bay Buccaneer. Sapp, like Moss, had an outstanding career with his previous team but also brought a controversial personality to the locker-room.
"It depends on what you mean by ‘good teammate,'" Moss said. "It's about being accountable. I don't know what other people do off the field. Mr. Davis mainly cares about what you do on the field."
There is one difference, however. Sapp has been in a four-year decline while Moss can still be an impact player despite being slowed for a part of the season by a hamstring injury. In fact, Moss did not surpass the 1,000 yard barrier for the first time in his career.
"There's nothing about him that really surprises me," Raiders head coach Norv Turner said. "I've been lucky enough to be around a lot of great players. The one thing they have in common is they love to play."
Even though Moss and his teammates are saying all the right things, how he mixes with his new teammates is a process that bears watching because the Raiders are counting heavily on Moss after going a combined 9-23 the previous two seasons after reaching the Super Bowl in 2002. The 2005 campaign is the first training camp without either Tim Brown or Jerry Rice.
"I'm just hoping to find the fountain of youth," Moss quipped. "I don't know how those guys played as long as they did."
With the Raiders resigning fellow wide receiver Jerry Porter coupled with the strong-armed Collins having another season to digest the offense, Oakland figures to have an exciting offense. The Raiders also hope Ronald Curry can recover from an Achilles tendon injury that curtailed his season.
"Randy is such a fluid athlete," Collins said. "He understands the game. He has great athletic instincts. I've always had a real appreciation for guys like that. He's obviously a guy that has worked hard on his route-running. He's got a real willingness to learn and get better."
There is, however, only one football. Plus, Moss and Porter have been known to voice their displeasure when they don't feel they are as crucial in the offense as they should be. Moss, however, has glowing things to say so far about Collins.
"He's not very athletic like say (Minnesota quarterback) Daunte Culpepper," Moss said. "But Kerry has a lot of positives. His upside is very up. It's exciting to see him know coach Turner's offense like the back of his hand."
Moss added that the biggest adjustment, other than getting acquainted with teammates, has been getting acclimated to the new offense with terminology and routes along with the depth of the routes.
"The playbook is like night and day," Moss said. "In Minnesota, it was like one plus one. Here it's Algebra II."
Vince D'Adamo can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org