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Randy Moss – A Short Biography
This article is part of a series of articles written about some of the current New England Patriots players. In this article, we will examine the life and football career of Randy Moss, the Patriot’s star receiver. While some of his off-court transgressions are well known, his stature as one of the NFL’s all-time best wide receivers is undisputed. Let’s take a look at the biography of Randy Moss.
Randy Moss was born in Rand, West Virginia on February 13, 1977 to Maxine Moss and Randy Pratt. Rand was a small mining town, not the type of town one would expect to produce one of the NFL’s big stars. Rand was so small they didn’t have their own high school. Consequently, Randy attended the now defunct DuPont High School in nearby Belle, West Virginia.
During his high school years, Randy excelled in sports. His favorite sports were football and basketball. He helped his team win state titles in football and basketball during his junior and senior years. Due to his excellent performance in football during his high school years, college football powerhouses took a lot of interest in him. Top colleges that showed interest in Randy were Ohio State, Notre Dame, and Florida State University. Notre Dame’s Lou Holtz said “Randy Moss was the best high school football player he had ever seen”. In 1995, Randy signed a letter of intent to go to Notre Dame on a full football scholarship.
Racial tensions ran high at the high school Randy Moss attended. These tensions led to numerous fights at DuPont High School. After signing to go to Notre Dame, Randy got involved in one of those racially motivated fights. This led Notre Dame to cancel its scholarship. Lou Holtz suggested to Bobby Bowden, the FSU head coach, to give Randy a chance. Randy therefore intended to go to FSU on a full football scholarship. However, due to his signed Letter of Intent at Notre Dame, the NCAA considered him a transfer student. This made him ineligible to play for the Seminoles in the 1995 football season. So in 1995, Randy was redshirted.
In 1996, due to some off-court transgressions, Randy was fired from the state of Florida. He ended up never playing for FSU. He then had to make a decision on where to play his college football. He thought of Marshall University, which was only a few hours from his hometown. Randy knew Marshall was moving from a 1-AA division to a 1-A division, which would mean tougher competition and more exposure to NFL scouts. This, I’m sure, influenced his decision to attend Marshall.
During the 1996 season, Randy broke many records as a freshman at Marshall. This included most games with a touchdown catch in a season (14), most consecutive games with a touchdown catch (13) and most touchdown passes caught in a season (28 ). He also broke the record for most receiving yards gained by a freshman in a season (1,709 of 78 catches), a record that still stands today. He helped Marshall win the Division I-AA National Schools Championship.
Randy also played football at Marshall during his sophomore year. This was the University’s first year as a Division IA school. During the two seasons Randy played at Marshall, he broke numerous NCAA records. Overall at Marshall, he scored at least one touchdown in the 28 games he played. He won the Fred Biletnikoff Award as the nation’s top wide receiver and was a runner-up for the 1997 Heisman. He finished 4th in voting that year, behind Ryan Leaf, Peyton Manning and Charles Woodson. Not bad considering Randy was only a sophomore. Charles Woodson, the University of Michigan star who won the Heisman that year, said “Randy had superior talent, and he was surprised Randy didn’t get the Heisman.”
Randy Moss was so good in his second year at Marshall that many NFL scouts started noticing him. It looked like Moss would be drafted in the 1998 NFL Draft, and that’s exactly what happened. This meant that he would no longer attend Marshall University. The two standout seasons he had at Marshall were good enough to get him drafted.
Moss was taken by Minnesota in the 21st round of the 1998 NFL Draft. He was expected to be drafted in the first 5 rounds, but during the draft teams were hesitant. I’m sure his off-field issues played a part here. Additionally, Moss missing the NFL combine in Indianapolis, prior to the draft that year, was a concern for some NFL teams. The Combine provides a presentation of the NFL’s top potential rookies to NFL scouts. He missed the combine because of a dental abscess. But some believe he was trying to avoid drug testing. In any case, Minnesota at that time was a perfect choice for Randy.
At the end of the 1998 regular season at Minnesota, Moss was named Pro Bowl starter and NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year for his rookie-record 17 touchdown receptions. From 1998 to 2004, Moss had a stellar career in Minnesota. He then spent a few years with the Oakland Raiders, before ending up with the New England Patriots.
In 2007, the New England Patriots picked up Moss in a trade from Oakland. Moss did very well during the 2007 season for the Patriots. He had the most total yardage for the Patriots with 98 catches for 1,493 yards. That season, he earned his sixth Pro Bowl selection, had touchdowns in 13 of 16 games, had nine 100-yard games and helped the New England Patriots to an undefeated season. only loss being in Super Bowl XLII against the New York Giants.
In 2008, Moss had 69 catches for 1,008 yards and 11 touchdowns. Quite a feat considering quarterback Tom Brady was lost to a season-ending knee injury in the first game of the year. In 2009, Moss had another stellar season for the Patriots.
Randy Moss has had an amazing football career so far. Although he’s had his share of transgressions off the pitch, he has this uncanny ability to focus on the pitch and perform when it really matters. His story is one of rags to riches. The town he grew up in was very poor. He was driven by his need to help his mother, who worked long hours as a caregiver to help keep her children healthy and happy as they grew up. His story is one you frequently see in professional sports.
Randy Moss has become one of the best wide receivers in the NFL. In 2008, he earned $14 million. In the future, he is expected to be inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Not bad for a kid from poor Rand, West Virginia. His story of rags to riches should serve as an inspiration to all children growing up in conditions of poverty. He realizes his idea of the American Dream, and he showed that hard work and focus when it counts, can lead to success, no matter how hard you try.
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