Moss Still Hasn't Forgotten Cowboys' Snub
Moss heads to Dallas; Kolb starting again in Philly; LT shines for the Jets.
By: Mitch Light | 10/15/10, 10:00 AM EDT
By Charean Williams
Cowboys owner Jerry Jones was set to select Randy Moss with the eighth overall pick in 1998 when then coach Chan Gailey and others on staff talked him out of it on draft day. Citing character concerns, the Cowboys instead took Greg Ellis.
Moss, who was selected 21st overall by the Vikings, since has forgiven Jones. But that doesn’t mean he’s forgotten.
“I always forgive, man. That’s in the Bible,” Moss said. “I always forgive, but I never forget. Mr. Jones, Jerry Jones, I still respect his organization, the accomplishments that he has made over the years, I don’t hold a grudge, and I’m not bitter about the situation. This is my 13th year in the league. I forgive him, but I don’t forget.”
In seven career games against the Cowboys, including the postseason, Moss has 35 receptions for 734 yards and 11 touchdowns. His average of 21 yards per catch is the most against any team. His team has never lost to the Cowboys.
“[Before the draft], I told my mom I might be a Cowboy, so she had her mind set on Dallas just as well as I did, so when they didn’t pick me, I was kind of more depressed because she was depressed,” Moss said. “…Just seeing her facial expression and how she looked, I really took that to heart, man, and I told myself any time I play the Dallas Cowboys I’m never going to forget that look.”
When the Patriots traded him to the Vikings last week, Moss circled this week’s game on his calendar. Jones quickly offered a public apology to Moss.
“I apologize. I apologize. I apologize,” Jones said. “I don’t believe that’s going to do any good. He’s too much of a competitor. He’s a real competitor, and I’ve known all my life that when people say you can’t do it or when people pass over you saying somebody else can do it, all that does is inspire you. …Certainly, he’s made us pay, and I’m sorry we’ve got to play him.”
Kolb ready to go again
Kevin Kolb is thankful for a second chance to make a first impression. The Philadelphia Eagles quarterback opened the season as the team’s starter before losing the job to Michael Vick. Vick, though, injured his ribs against the Redskins.
So Kolb made his fourth career start last week and completed 21-of-31 passes for 253 yards and a touchdown in a 27–24 victory over the 49ers.
“I had some confidence going into the game,” Kolb said. “Being a Sunday night football game, and all the things that were said about Vick’s playing well, and I wasn’t playing well, it just felt good to kind of reprove to the people who don’t believe that I can still play, and I can lead the team to a win,” Kolb said.
Kolb is expected to start again this week, but Vick will reclaim the starting job when he is healthy. It’s the job Kolb has waited three years for, sitting behind Donovan McNabb until McNabb was traded to the Redskins in the off-season.
“The one thing I’ve always learned is you can never predict what’s going to happen,” Kolb said. “You just have to be ready when your name is called. That’s a valuable lesson, because a lot of guys get down and it affects you down the road. Regardless of which way the road goes, you can only control what you can control, and that’s what I’m trying to do.”
The old LT is back
Everyone had given up on LaDainian Tomlinson.
After two very un-LT-like season, Fantasy Football owners had moved on without him. So, too, did the Chargers.
In 2009, Tomlinson had his worst season with 223 carries for 730 yards, a 3.3-yard average. The Chargers intimated that Tomlinson had lost a step.
The Jets, though, thought Tomlinson still had enough left in the tank to be a capable backup to Shonn Greene.
In a season he refers to as a “rebirth,” Tomlinson has proved everyone wrong. The Jets’ starting running back is fifth in the NFL in rushing with 435 yards and three touchdowns on 76 carries. He is averaging 5.7 yards per carry. Greene ranks 20th with 280 rushing yards.
“I’ve always believed in myself,” Tomlinson said, “and when the opportunity presented itself, I’m performing for the Jets. They took a chance on me. That’s what makes me happy more than anything is that I’m proving them right. People took shots at the Jets when they signed me: ‘What are they doing? He’s done.’ It’s more about proving them right than proving anybody else wrong.”
Tomlinson, the NFL’s seventh all-time leading rushers with 12,925 yards, was supposed to be too old to do what he’s doing now. He is 31, past the prime for running backs. But Tomlinson said the results of the past two seasons were more about injuries than age.
He injured a toe in Week 1 of the 2008 season and injured an ankle in Week 1 of the 2009 season. This season, he’s healthy.
“I’ve never felt my age,” Tomlinson said. “I got banged up a couple of times. Everybody goes through a stretch when they’re injured. But I still had my quickness, and I still had my speed. I could see that in the off-season, running with these cornerbacks and receivers. It’s just the fact that I am 31 now, and people get that stereotype that when running backs hit 30 they go downhill.”
He will, he said, keep playing as long as he’s healthy.
• Broncos quarterback Kyle Orton’s 1,733 passing yards are the best five-game total in team history and sixth in NFL annals. He has a current streak of four 300-yard games. No Denver quarterback ever has reached five in a row.
• The Lions have lost 23 consecutive road games. Detroit, with a loss this week against the Giants at the Meadowlands, will tie its own NFL record for road futility, which they set with 24 losses in a row from 2001-03. Seven players remain from the Lions’ last road victory, 16–7 in Chicago in 2007. They are Calvin Johnson, Jeff Backus, Dominic Raiola, Stephen Peterman, Jason Hanson, Nick Harris and Don Muhlbach.
• The Falcons have allowed 12 plays of 20 yards or more this season, though none in the past two games.
• Panthers quarterback Jimmy Clausen has fumbled seven times this season, losing two. He also has thrown three interceptions.
• Chiefs quarterback Matt Cassel is not putting up the passing numbers to match his $63 million deal. Fans are growing impatient, and coach Todd Haley has had to deny rumors that Cassel’s contract and orders from general manager Scott Pioli are what’s keeping Cassel under center. The Chiefs are 3–1, but Cassel is completing only 54.7 percent of his passes with four touchdowns, three interceptions and a passer rating of 74.0.
• Patriots receiver Wes Welker is trying to become the second receiver in NFL history with four consecutive seasons of 100 catches or more. Former Colts star Marvin Harrison had 100 or more catches in each season from 1999-2002.
• Giants running back Ahmad Bradshaw leads the NFL with seven carries of 20 or more yards. He is also third in the league and first in the NFC with 449 rushing yards this season, the highest total through five games for a Giants running back since Tiki Barber had 577 yards on the ground in 2004.
• Jets kicker Nick Folk was 5-of-5 on field goal attempts against the Vikings, connecting from 25, 53, 22, 34 and 31 yards. The 53-yarder tied a career long. He is 12-of-14 on field goal attempts this season, with one of the misses from 61 yards at Miami.
• Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger has a 10–1 record against the Browns, although he lost his last start against them, a 13–6 decision Dec. 10 in Cleveland.
• Seahawks quarterback Matt Hasselbeck has the team’s two rushing touchdowns this season.
• Patriots receiver Joey Galloway is only five catches shy of becoming the 31st NFL player with 700 career receptions.
• Texans quarterback Matt Schaub led the NFL in passing yards last season, but he is tied for ninth after five games this year. Schaub looks uncomfortable in the pocket, and he hasn’t been sharp or consistent. He has five interceptions and has taken 14 sacks.
• Colts quarterback Peyton Manning did not throw a touchdown Sunday. It was only the 25th time in 197 regular-season career starts that Manning did not throw a touchdown.
• Houston is 5–6 at home and 7–3 on the road dating to the start of last season. In those road games, Houston is averaging 423 yards a game. No other team has averaged 400 yards on the road during that period.
• Cardinals linebacker Gerald Hayes, who underwent back surgery in July, has been ready to return for a few weeks and should play against Seattle on Oct. 24. His role, however, likely will be limited to playing some snaps at the strong inside spot. He could eventually assume the full-time job at the strong inside spot, where he has been the starter the previous four seasons. That would allow Paris Lenon to move to the weak-side spot, replacing rookie Daryl Washington. Washington has struggled at times getting off blocks and filling gaps, and the Cardinals would like to use him to spell Lenon and in the subpackages.
• The Bears are 0-of-9 on plays from the opponents’ 1-yard line this season.
• Bengals running back Cedric Benson has 10 100-yard games in 27 starts with Cincinnati. He is fifth in the team record books for most 100-yard games. Corey Dillon holds the record with 28.
• Bengals receiver Terrell Owens is fifth in the league with 476 yards. At his current pace he would have 99 receptions for 1,523 yards and six touchdowns. The yards would be a single-season Bengals record.
• Browns offensive tackle Joe Thomas had his worst game in the NFL as Falcons defensive end John Abraham had two sacks, three pressures and three tackles. Abraham was responsible for knocking quarterback Seneca Wallace out of the game. Thomas has a holding penalty and has allowed three sacks this season.
• Broncos receiver Brandon Lloyd has four 100-yard receiving games in five weeks. Lloyd previously had four such games in his career with Denver (2009), Chicago (2008), Washington (2006-07) and San Francisco (2003-05).
• The Cardinals have won nine consecutive games when coming off a loss. They have not had consecutive losses since December 2008.
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