|10.07.10 at 5:32 pm ET|
FOXBORO — In a lengthy question-and-answer session at his locker Thursday afternoon, Patriots nose tackle Vince Wilfork talked about how close he had grown to Randy Moss in the three-plus seasons the two played together, and that he never saw Moss as a distraction — contrary to statements made by former Patriot Tedy Bruschi.
Bruschi, currently an analyst for ESPN, said on Wednesday “there [were] some players frustrated with Randy. … He’s saying the right things, doing the right things in front of the media. But inside that locker room he’s turning into the same player he was toward the end of his time in Oakland.”
“We’ve never had problems with Randy. Our locker room is our locker room. We’ve never had an issue. I can’t remember an issue that we had. I don’t know what Tedy’s bringing up,” Wilfork said of Bruschi. “That’s not an issue in this locker room. That was business. It’s all business and it happens. You have to move forward from it. And that’s one thing we’ll do around here, especially for myself knowing him personally, I’ll move forward from it.”
Wilfork and Moss were especially close, and one thing Wilfork reiterated several times in Thursday afternoon was the fact that the two will remain “friends forever.”
“I was very fortunate to play with a guy like Randy. I had a chance to know him as a person, not just as an athlete. He was a great person, he was a great athlete, probably one of the greatest guys you’ll ever meet,” he said.
While he was emotional about the situation, Wilfork understands the realities of life in the NFL.
“It’s business,” he said. “It happens all the time. But we’re going to keep rolling. I’m pretty sure Randy’s going to keep doing what he has to do in Minnesota. One thing for sure is that we’re friends forever. I’ll talk to him. He’ll talk to me. Just because we’re on the other side doesn’t mean anything. I do want to beat him, but from a personal standpoint right now, good guy. Good guy. [But] that’s business.”
|10.07.10 at 5:16 pm ET|
Randy Moss spoke to the media in Minnesota after his first practice with the Vikings on Thursday. The wide receiver spoke about his time in New England, his reaction to the trade, his contract status and his relationship with Bill Belichick.
Here are some highlights from the press conference …
Randy Moss: Before I start off with any questions, I’m very fortunate to be back where it all started. It’s been a hectic last 48 hours and I didn’t know what to expect. But I’m back home and it feels weird knowing I was just in New England trying to make things happen and just overnight get traded back home. I thought about this, time and time again about how this thing was going to play out. Was the love for me still here in Minnesota and all I’ve seen is nothing but positives. So to all the Vikings fans and that’s coming to the Metrodome — put you No. 84 jerseys back on because I think it’s going to be a fun ride. It felt good to be out there today. I’ve watched these guys from afar — Williams brothers, Brett [Favre], [Steve] Hutchinson, [Bryant] McKinnie, I’ve watched this team, I’ve paid attention to the team and the success they’ve had over the years. And by bringing me back I just want to see if we can get this thing done. I know we take it one game at a time, I know they came up one game short last year. So, hopefully no one in this organization is looking at a bigger picture because this game Monday night we have the New York Jets so we’ll take it one game at a time and see what happens at the end of the season.
When you were traded from the Vikings five years ago did you ever think you’d be back?
RM: I have strong faith, I have a lot of faith. I pray to God, praying every day and every morning that He would put me in the right situation. I think me being traded from New England to here was His plan so I’m going to embrace it and take it into stride and hopefully bring it home.
How long have you wanted to play with Favre? He’s wanted to play with you for years, since Green Bay days.
RM: Me and Brett have a long history with one another. I think when we started out in the NFC playing against one another … his agent Bus Cook and I have a very strong relationship so all along he just wanted to see if me and Brett could hook up one day. Knowing I’m a little older and he’s older — I know we don’t have that long window, the opportunity is closing, so we just have to take ti one game at a time, one practice at a time. I know I’m coming in late but we’ll get out there and get a little timing down and hopefully carry it on to the games.
It was reported that you were hurt when you learned of the trade. Were you hurt?
RM: No, I’ve been traded before. No, the hurt … I was more hurt when I left here [Minnesota]. I think when I got traded from New England to here it was more of an understanding. I’ve said time and time again that this is not football, man, this is a job. This is a business and whenever the fans understand the business I think it’ll be better for everyone. Did I want to get traded out of New England? I don’t really know what that answer is. All I can say is that there is no other place I really wanted to be traded to other than Minnesota. I started here, I feel obligated to this organization for drafting me. At the time it was coach Dennis Green and his group that drafted me. Me leaving here left a bad taste in my mouth, very depressed, but me coming back here over the last 24 hours I still feel obliged to try and make this thing happen because when no one wanted to give me chance the Vikings gave me a chance. Even I slipped late in the draft in 1998 I still have the same approach to the game. I know I’m a little older, but hopefully some of the younger guys pick up where I left off and hopefully make this ship move.
The possibility of a contract extension?
RM: I really don’t want to get into contracts. This is how the whole thing started. Some things in New England didn’t go according to plan and you see I’m here now. So I’m not really wanting to get into the contract thing, I think everything will work itself out. If I’m here next year as a Viking then that’s what it’s going to be. If not I’m not. Right now I have a job to do and it’s just to play football and we’ll leave it at that.
|10.07.10 at 3:28 pm ET|
The Patriots worked out a pair of kickers on Wednesday, veterans Shaun Suisham and Shayne Graham, according to Pro Football Talk. Suisham, 28, is a Bowling Green product who has spent five seasons in the NFL, having kicked for Dallas, San Francisco and Washington. Graham is a 32-year-old out of Virginia Tech who has been in the league since 2001 and has kicked for Buffalo, Carolina and Cincinnati.
|10.07.10 at 3:23 pm ET|
FOXBORO — Patriots wide receiver Wes Welker said Thursday it was “a little disappointing” to know that Randy Moss had requested a trade early in the season, especially in the wake of how he interacted with the team throughout the early stages of the 2010 season.
“I think that was kind of a difficult thing,” Welker said. “Just because he was the guy always giving pep talks before the game, halftime, after the game. Not knowing that he was wanting to get traded the whole time was a little bit disappointing. But at the same time, he’s doing what’s best for him. It’s a business. You just have to kind of roll with it.”
Welker anticipates some aspects of the New England passing game changing.
“You know, I think Randy obviously brought a deep presence to him,” Welker said. “Things may change a little bit, but we have some fast guys that can definitely go deep and stretch the field and do some things. Obviously, Randy is one of the best in the game to do it. But we just have to collectively go out there and work hard and play hard and do everything we need to do to try and make up for him.”
|10.07.10 at 3:15 pm ET|
FOXBORO — Just got out of the Patriots locker room, and here’s some quick reaction from a handful of players on the Randy Moss trade:
Tight end Alge Crumpler on reacting to the trade:
“I just reacted. I’ve been a part of a lot of different moves throughout the course of my career. You just have to show up to work and come in and be a professional and make sure guys like myself keeps the guys in the locker room together so we go out there and continue to play. That’s all we can do. We still have 12 games to play, and it’s important for us to go out there as a team and try and make things happen. Look — we all in this locker room love Randy. He’s a Hall of Fame player. I’ve probably only played with more than two or three Hall of Fame players in my career. I studied him. I watched him. I learned a lot from him. And like coach said, I wish him well. We all wish him well. Except for when they come in here.”
Wes Welker on how the New England passing game might change:
“You know, I think Randy obviously brought a deep presence to him and going deep and everything like that. Things may change a little bit, but we have some fast guys that can definitely go deep and stretch the field and do some things. Obviously, Randy is one of the best in the game to do it. But we just have to collectively go out there and work hard and play hard and do everything we need to do to try and make up for him.”
How tough is that to know now that he wanted out?
“I think that was kind of a difficult thing. Just because he was the guy always giving pep talks before the game, halftime, after the game. Not knowing that he was wanting to get traded the whole time was a little bit disappointing. But at the same time, he’s doing what’s best for him. It’s a business. You just have to kind of roll with it.”
Vince Wilfork on his reaction:
“It’s a business. That’s how you have to look at it. I was very fortunate to play with a guy like Randy, and had a chance to know him as a person and an athlete. Great person, great athlete. Probably one of the greatest guys you’ll ever meet. The game, his personality, how he approaches the game. It’s business. … It happens all the time. But we are going to keep rolling. I’m pretty sure Randy’s going to keep doing what he has to do in Minnesota. One thing for sure is that we’re friends forever. I’ll talk to him. He’ll talk to me. Just because we’re on the other side doesn’t mean anything. I do want to beat him, but from a personal standpoint right now, good guy. Good guy. [But] that’s business.”
|10.07.10 at 1:40 pm ET|
Thanks to the Patriots’ PR staff, here’s the complete transcript of today’s Q&A between coach Bill Belichick and the media at Gillette Stadium:
BB: I just thought I would try to shed a little light on the trade with Randy [Moss]. I’m sure I’m not going to be able to answer all the questions that you have, but I’ll just say that Randy was really a pleasure to coach. I enjoyed having him on our team. He made a lot of contributions to this football team. When I spoke with Randy yesterday morning, our conversations were consistent with what they’ve been over the last four years: honest, open, very forthright. We talked about a lot of things, which I will keep between Randy and myself. In the end, it was a difficult decision, but one that I feel is in the best interest of the football team. Organizationally, we’ve had conversations and obviously are comfortable with the trade. I wish Randy the absolute best. He’s been a guy – a player – that I have always had a good relationship with. He’s been very honest and when I’ve asked him questions about football, personnel, things like that, he’s been very helpful to me, personally, and [he’s] been very professional and, I think, a good teammate and a good contributing member of this team. But in the end, that was the decision. And I have confidence in our players. I think if they continue to work hard and improve, then we’ll be competitive [and] we’ll be able to win games. And that’s what we’re here to do: win games. We’ve won more games than any other team in the last decade. I hope we can continue to win them going forward. That’s what we’re here for. That’s really about the long and short of it.
Q: We’ve heard you say over the years that your bottom line philosophy is that the decisions you make are what’s the best for the team. Can you explain why this decision–
BB: Well, it’s a combination of things. That would be a much longer discussion than we’re going to have. It’s a combination of factors. But I would say this: there was never any incident or discipline problem with Randy. There never has been one with me in four years. And it certainly wasn’t about contract and money. I think Randy showed and proved the first year he was here what that was all about. What he did with his contract made the whole deal work. I think you can eliminate those two things.
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|10.07.10 at 12:48 pm ET|
FOXBORO — According to multiple reports, the following players were not at the start of practice this afternoon for the Patriots: cornerback Terrence Wheatley, offensive lineman Nick Kaczur, running back Fred Taylor and defensive lineman Mike Wright.
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