Randy Moss exits with little fanfare

One of the most gifted receivers in American football history was also a controversial player, which is probably why he was not given the farewell he perhaps deserved.

Randy Moss spent 13 seasons in the NFL doing things on his own terms, which is why, perhaps, the loudest career the league has ever seen - both in terms of the roars he induced on the field and the aggravation he caused off it - ended so quietly.

No farewell speech from maybe the most physically gifted receiver ever. No tearful goodbye from a record-setting performer who changed the way defence is played. Just a one-sentence statement from his agent, saying one of the most colourful careers in league history was over.

"Randy has weighed his options and considered the offers and has decided to retire," Joel Segal said on Monday.

It was vintage Moss, a revolutionary talent, who was never much interested in doing things the conventional way.

Fans were awed by his blend of size, speed and intelligence. Teammates were charmed by the charisma he showed behind closed doors. Coaches were often infuriated by his boorish antics and lack of respect for authority.

"I don't know if anybody can totally pin down who Randy Moss is," Tim DiPiero, one of his former agents, said last year.

Moss leaves with some of the gaudiest statistics posted by a receiver. His 153 touchdowns are tied with Terrell Owens for second on the career list, and he is fifth in yards (14,858) and tied with Hines Ward for eighth in receptions (954).

"In a lot of ways, he was the Michael Jordan of offences in our league," Leslie Frazier, the Minnesota Vikings coach, said. "He was a special player for a long, long time."

Those numbers, and his status as perhaps the best deep threat in NFL history, will make him a strong candidate for the Hall of Fame. But voters will also be weighing those achievements and his six Pro Bowl seasons against a history of half-hearted performances.

As Moss himself famously said: "I play when I want to play."

But when he wanted to, there was no one better.

Published: August 3, 2011 04:00 AM