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No matter what you thought of him, Randy Moss was certainly never boring

08.01.11 at 4:34 pm ET
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Love him or hate him, you always had to pay attention to Randy Moss.

With the news the wide receiver has decided to retire after a 13-year NFL career, the image of Moss that remains is an athlete who commanded the spotlight like few others. On the field, he always had to be accounted for, a monster offensive threat who was instantly ticketed for Canton even before he set foot in New England in 2007. A freakish big-play receiver with breathtaking speed, he ranks second all-time with 153 touchdowns, fifth with 14,858 receiving yards and eighth with 954 receptions over the course of a 13-year career.

After stops in Minnesota and Oakland, he joined the Patriots in April 2007, where he and Tom Brady became the football equivalent of Lennon and McCartney, putting together the best combo for a quarterback and wide receiver in league history and sending sportswriters looking for more adjectives. That year, there were moments of real brilliance between the two, as the quarterback won the MVP and had 4,806 passing yards and 50 touchdowns, with Moss accounting for 1,493 receiving yards and 23 touchdown catches. (In three-plus years in New England, he had 3,904 yards and 50 touchdown receptions.)

However, when it came to Moss, it was always complicated. He talked about loving the Patriots, but a bizarre postgame monologue about his contract situation after the 2010 season opener signaled the beginning of the end of his time in New England. His teammates loved him, but nagging incidents like LateGate and an in-game clash with offensive coordinator Bill O’€™Brien left some wondering how deep that commitment to the team really was. In all, there was more than enough sophomoric stuff over the course of his career ‘€” mock-mooning the crowd in Green Bay, nudging a traffic cop with his car, more than a few incidents of loafing, squirting water at a referee, ‘€œStraight cash, homey’€ and declaring that he would ‘€œplay when I want to play’€ ‘€” to keep people talking.

That was true not only for opposing defenses and fans, but for us in the media as well. In New England, the receiver was lockered next to Brady, and as a reporter, even though there were days Moss was clearly not speaking; you always had to stay in the neighborhood just in case the mood struck him. When he did ‘€” and he started by informing the media on almost every occasion ‘€œY’€™all got three [questions]’€ ‘€” he was almost always insightful and interesting.

On the occasion of his retirement, Moss is on the short list with Jerry Rice as one of the greatest receivers of all time, and his enshrinement in the Pro Football Hall of Fame is all but assured. And as was the case when he was a player, if/when he stands up to make his speech while wearing that trademark yellow blazer, we will all be paying attention.

Read More: Bill O'Brien, Jerry Rice, Randy Moss, Tom Brady

Cris Carter tells ESPN that Patriots offered Randy Moss a one-year deal

08.01.11 at 3:07 pm ET
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Cris Carter, a former teammate of Randy Moss in Minnesota, hinted Monday the Patriots offered Moss a one-year deal to return for the 2011 season, but the wide receiver wanted a multiyear contract. When that didn’t materialize ‘€” along with a possible deal with the Jets ‘€” he made the decision to call it a career.

“What I think forced (his retirement) was No. 1, New England trading for (Chad) Ochocinco,’€ Carter said when asked about Moss on ESPN. ‘€œThat’s the No. 1 place he wanted to go to. His biggest problem with New England was he didn’€™t want a one-year deal. New England wanted to sign him to a one-year deal. As you can see, New England gave Chad that three-year deal.

‘€œThe next team he wanted to go to was the New York Jets. Now they had someone, a big receiver, who decided to take the one-year deal: Plaxico Burress.

‘€œWhen those two teams were removed from him and his ability to go play with them, I think that Randy reacted a lot like the Randy that came into the league, like the Randy we’ve seen, and he said, ‘You know something? I’m not just going to play for anyone.”€

Read More: Chad Ochocinco, Cris Carter, Randy Moss,

Agent: Randy Moss will call it a career

08.01.11 at 1:05 pm ET
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Former Patriots wide receiver Randy Moss has decided to retire, his agent Joel Segal told ESPN’s Adam Schefter.

Moss, who played in New England from 2007 until early last season, accumulated 954 receptions, 14,858 receiving yards and 153 touchdowns over the course of a 13-year career. He was a first-round pick of Minnesota in 1998 out of Marshall University, and also played for Oakland, New England and Tennessee.
Moss was a free agent, and as late as March, he spoke about the possibility of returning to New England.

“I’€™m a big fan of Bill Belichick. I really am,” Moss told KFAN Radio. “And not just on the field. I’€™m a fan of his off the field, because the little grouchy man you see on camera is not what you see off camera. I’€™ve grown and I’€™ve started to respect the game, first and foremost. But if you’€™re asking me where my heart is and I’€™m happiest, I love playing with Tom Brady, I love being coached by Bill Belichick.”

However, the market for Moss wasn’t what he hoped it might be, and as a result, the 34-year-old wide receiver has decided to retire.

“After weighing his options and contemplating offers, he’s decided to retire,” Segal told Schefter.

Read More: Bill Belichick, Joel Segal, Randy Moss, Tom Brady

Brandon Spikes wants to be ‘a better man’ while Jermaine Cunningham wants to be better period

08.01.11 at 12:44 pm ET
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FOXBORO — They came out of the University of Florida together with great expectations from themselves and the Patriots. They helped Urban Meyer lead the Gators to the 2007 and 2009 BCS national titles. And on Sunday, on the practice field, there they were talking to reporters next to the ramp leading to the Patriots locker room.

The Patriots drafted the combo of linebackers Brandon Spikes and Jermaine Cunningham with the hopes of rejuvenating their pass rush with two of the most promising defensive impact players in the 2010 NFL Draft.

But both Spikes and Cunningham – as you might expect from young players trying to adjust to the “Patriot Way” under Bill Belichick – had their growing pains.

Spikes was suspended four games for violation of the league’s substance abuse policy at a crucial time of the season for him and the team. Prior to the Week 14 game with the Bears, Spikes was tagged for a violation of the NFL’s banned substances policy, reportedly for an ingredient in his ADHD medication.

“I’€™ve been contacted by the NFL and informed that I will be suspended four games for the detection of an illegal substance in a drug test,” Spikes said in a statement before beginning a four-game suspension that would end his season. “The substance was a medication that I should have gotten clarification on before taking. It was not a performance enhancer or an illegal drug. The integrity of the game is very important to me. I understand the league’€™s ruling and apologize to my teammates, the fans and the Patriots organization for this mistake.’€

With a fresh start for 2011, Spikes admitted on Sunday at training camp that the penalty from late in the season stunted his development somewhat in 2010. Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: 2011 training camp, Bill Belichick, Brandon Spikes, Florida Gators

Brian Baldinger on D&C: ‘Nobody collapses an offensive line better than Albert Haynesworth’

08.01.11 at 10:19 am ET
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NFL Network’€™s Brian Baldinger spoke with Dennis & Callahan Monday morning to discuss the Patriots (and Eagles). To hear the interview, go to the Dennis & Callahan audio on demand page.

Baldinger said that when motivated and in shape, ‘€œNobody collapses an offensive line better than Albert Haynesworth. If it doesn’t work it’s a sixth-round pick and he’s out the door and they move on. But if it does work, if they can get 25 or 30 plays from him a game, you line up with him and Vince Wilfork inside, and good luck trying to gain an inch against those two big bodies inside.’€

Baldinger also said the best way to use Haynesworth is to use him at right end.

‘€œI think Bill Belichick is looking at what the Green Bay Packers did, which is basically play two defensive linemen all game,’€ Baldinger said, adding: ‘€œI think you’€™ll see them play a lot more nickel, like I said, with Wilfork and if Haynesworth can get himself in shape.’€

Baldinger said that Haynesworth will not be allowed to misbehave in Foxboro. Said Baldinger: “If he pulls the stunts that he pulled in Washington, then he’€™ll be gone. Simple.’€

Added Baldinger: “There is something about an Albert Haynesworth that knows this isn’t the Washington Redskins anymore with a completely disarrayed front office and a coaching staff that really doesn’t have it together. He knows he’s going to a preeminent organization. And if he screws up and acts up there, he knows that he’s done. This is like the ultimate test for these guys when they come there.” Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: Albert Haynesworth, brian baldinger, Chad Ochocinco, New England Patriots

Fantasy Football 2011: A look at quarterbacks

08.01.11 at 8:32 am ET
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The writers at would like to thank WEEI for bringing us on board as its provider of fantasy football content. We’€™ll be bringing you all the information you need to make sure your 2011 fantasy season is a winning one.

We’€™re going to kick off with some positional rankings and some early analysis on the relative depth of each position, and how that can help you in your fantasy drafts this year. With all the free agent mayhem going on, these rankings are very likely to evolve more than they normally would in a typical preseason, where rosters are largely determined.

We’€™ll start with the quarterbacks and we’€™ll come back tomorrow with the receivers.

1. Michael Vick, Eagles

Vick is the clear number one for fantasy purposes; his upside is ridiculous, but be warned, because that upside comes hand-in-hand with significant injury risk. If you like taking quarterbacks early (we don’€™t) and if you like risk, then Vick is a play-to-win selection that could pay big dividends. We think he becomes viable as soon as the elite running backs are off the board. His weapons are also high-end with two No. 1-caliber receivers and nice depth behind them. For this reason, we are not overly  concerned with DeSean Jackson‘€™s holdout. Vick also has a nice young tailback to throw to in LeSean McCoy.

2. Aaron Rodgers, Packers

Rodgers is a great NFL quarterback AND a great fantasy quarterback. That said, his price tag will be high enough in 2011 for you to consider other options. We are also concerned that Green Bay will opt to expose its star player a little less with a healthier backfield. In that scenario, Rodgers could play better football and still lose some stats. We encourage you to allow your competition to use a first-rounder on him, but we do so with full acknowledgment of his mad skill.

3. Tom Brady, Patriots

Brady, as Rotobahn predicted, returned to vintage form in 2010. In his second year back from ACL reconstruction, we saw the old Brady. What made 2010 really impressive, at least to us, was how he changed his approach midseason after the Moss deal, and continued to post insane numbers. The Patriots went back to the same tendency-free offense that they made their bones with, but they took it to a new level. Now, with the addition of Chad Ochocinco, the Pats are loaded with talent at all the skill positions. Brady is a lock for fantasy success in 2011.

Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: 2011 Fantasy Football, aaron rodgers, Michael Vick, Tom Brady

Antonio Cromartie agrees to deal with Jets

08.01.11 at 6:39 am ET
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After being spurned by prized free agent cornerback Nnamdi Asomugha, the Jets came to an agreement with controversial corner Antonio Cromartie. The New York Post reports that the deal is for four years and $32 million.

Tweeted Cromartie: They say Cro is back, Cro is back all #GangGreen fans say is Cro… I’m on my FLT headed home glad 2 b a JET…let’s go win a Superbowl.

Cromartie had 42 tackles (41 solo), three interceptions and 17 passes defended last season, his first with the Jets after four seasons in San Diego. He also led the team in penalties and touchdown passes allowed.

The Jets are scheduled to hold their first practice of training camp Monday in Florham Park, N.J.

Tweeted Cromartie early Monday morning: Ok guys taking off c u guys at Florham Park God Bless u all…Jet sailing 2 be a JET…goodnight 2 some and good morning to others I’m out.

Read More: 2011 NFL Signings, antonio cromartie,
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