The Patriots finally re-signed Randy Moss to a three-year deal worth $27 million last week, but not before a opening week of free agency that was filled with rumors regarding Moss. The headline-maker posted a message to the fans of New England, therealrandymoss.com, thanking them for their support.
"I want to take time out to thank all of the fans for their support and for wishing me well in my return to New England," Moss wrote. "I'm ready to get back. We have some unfinished business to take care of."
In 2007, Moss caught 98 passes for 1,493 yards and 23 touchdowns. His 23 touchdown receptions set an all-time single-season NFL record, surpassing Jerry Rice's old mark of 22, set in 1987. Moss's 1,493 receiving yards set a Patriots single-season franchise record, while his 23 total touchdowns also set a team mark, topping Curtis Martin's 17 touchdowns in 1996.
His decorations from the 2007 are many. He caught four touchdown passes in a game against Buffalo on Nov. 18, 2007, setting a Patriots single-game record. Among the honors and awards Moss received in 2007 were selections to the Pro Bowl, the Associated Press All-Pro First Team, the Pro Football Weekly/PFWA All-NFL Team and the All-Pro teams of the Sporting News, USA Today, ESPN and Sports Illustrated. He was named the AFC Offensive Player of the Month for November 2007 and was named the AFC Offensive Player of the Week twice during the 2007 season.
Patriots coach Bill Belichick is happy that Moss is returning to the Patriots.
"What Randy did for our team last year was outstanding," Belichick said. "He is one of our most consistent, competitive and team-oriented players and it is undoubtedly a relationship we are excited to continue."
But Moss' return to the Patriots wasn't always a given.
In Philadelphia, Eagles coach Andy Reid has insisted that his wide receiving corps is plenty good enough to win a Super Bowl with, but that didn't prevent the Eagles from making a play for Moss last week.
In the hours before the Patriots re-signed the All-Pro wideout to a three-year, $27 million deal, the Eagles offered Moss more money to sign with them. According to reports, Reid spent more than an hour on the phone with Moss.
"Randy made it very clear from the get-go he wanted to be a New England Patriot," Reid said. "We knew it was a long-shot. But there was a little bit of a door open there and we took a shot.
"He was always going to go back to the Patriots. He made that clear. I just inquired about it and took a shot at it. I understand why (he re-signed with the Patriots). Life is good for him right now. It's the best it's ever been in his career."
Reid insisted the Eagles' pursuit of Moss was "a one-time thing." He said they are not actively trying to add another wideout. To be sure, they have expressed no interest in the remaining unsigned wideouts on the free market, including Seattle's D.J. Hackett and Arizona's Bryant Johnson. And they insist, contrary to reports, that they have not contacted the Arizona Cardinals about a trade for Larry Fitzgerald.
"We like the guys we have," Reid said of a group that includes starters Kevin Curtis and Reggie Brown and slot receiver Jason Avant. "We're happy with this group and can win with them."
Finally, Moss was the subject of speculation in Green Bay, where Packers fans were concerned that the team not being able to sign Moss was the final straw in quarterback Brett Favre retiring after 17 seasons. The theory was that Moss signing with New England deprived Favre of the dynamic receiver he wanted going back to last offseason.
Sure enough, no sooner did the retirement decision come to light on the morning of March 4 than speculation ran rampant that Packers management was responsible for running perhaps the greatest player in the history of the storied franchise out of Green Bay. The notion was fueled by comments made by Favre's agent, Bus Cook.
"Nobody pushed Brett Favre out the door, but then nobody encouraged him not to go out that door, either," Cook told The Associated Press.
Favre tried to extinguish the flames by saying the team wanted him back for next season — general manager Ted Thompson and head coach Mike McCarthy said as much — and that his abruptly calling it quits after 17 years in the NFL was of his own volition, chiefly brought on by mental fatigue and not having a desire to go through the rigors of a full season again.
"I've given everything I possibly can give to this organization, the game of football, and I don't think I've got anything left to give, and that's it," Favre said. "I know I can play, but I don't think I want to. That's really what it comes down to.
"I'm not up to the challenge anymore. I can play, but I'm not up to the challenge," he added. "You can't just show up and play for three hours on Sunday. If you could, there would be a lot more people doing it and be doing it for a lot longer. I have way too much pride, expect a lot of myself, and if I cannot do those things 100 percent, then I can't play."
As for Moss, he will continue to play … when he wants to play. And generate plenty of headlines along the way, as only Randy Moss can do.