The first round of quotes from Moss about being unhappy and unwanted in the Patriots organization created surprisingly few waves. It was a major story, yes, but it seemed to slide into the background as the Patriots' first game approached. For a player with a background as checkered as Moss' with regards to effort and behavior, relatively few people questioned how the number would perform for the Patriots on the field.
With the season opener in the rear view mirror, however, Moss returned to the forefront with a new series of interesting quotes at a postgame press conference. Luckily, Patriots fans still don't have much reason to worry. At least not this year.
To start with, Moss reassured Patriots fans that he was here to play, and not to be a problem.
Me being unhappy doesn't have anything to do with me toning my game down.
I'm not here to start any trouble. I'm here to play my last year out.
Throughout the conference, Moss made it clear that even if he doesn't feel appreciated, it's a business matter, and since he was under contract for 2010, he was going to do his job for 2010.
It helped that he'd spent the last few hours doing just that.
After all, Randy Moss did not go out Sunday and dog it. He didn't connect with Brady on any big bombs, and he didn't collect the most yards, or even any touchdowns, but in many ways he was the most impactful receiver of the game. Cincinnati spent almost every offensive play with two men deep, covering Moss, leaving Wes Welker, Kevin Faulk and Brandon Tate to feast underneath.
When Moss did get his catches, they were short throws over the middle, often resulting in the star receiver getting hit while collecting important first downs for the Patriots.
Perhaps one of the most telling plays of the day came on the last snap of the first half. Chad Ochocinco had gone into the locker room to receive an IV, and Terrell Owens had left with one second on the clock, thinking the quarter over. The two prima donna reputation receivers were nowhere to be found for Cincinatti's last offensive Hail Mary. Randy Moss? He was playing deep on defense. There was no shortage of effort or willingness to do what was asked of him all game long, and really after three years with the Patriots, we shouldn't be surprised by that.
UPDATE: Visit the NFL.com story for video of Moss' press conference.