He is considered one of the greatest wide receivers in NFL history and was greatly liked and respected by his former teammates. However, Randy Moss never seemed to fit any mold as his on the field, and off the field, antics took their toll and has made him one of professional football’s greatest enigmas.
Moss was born in a poor part of West Virginia on February 17, 1977. His mother raised Randy and his two siblings alone and worked many hours as a nurse’s aide. Randy idolized his brother Eric, who was a star athlete and early on Randy decided that he would be a professional athlete with the sole mission of helping his mother.
He attended Dupont High School in nearby Rand, West Virginia. Even as a freshman, he was a natural athlete with exceptional abilities. He played baseball, basketball, and football all equally well. Racial animosity was felt everywhere as the number of black student at Dupont was quite low. He led Dupont’s football team to two state titles in 1992 and 1993.
He was highly recruited by the best college football programs in the country. He settled on Notre Dame but it was not to be, however. The racial tension began to simmer to the exploding point.
In 1995, a massive fight erupted at school and when the dust settled, Randy was arrested and charged as an adult since he was eighteen years old. He was sentenced to serve thirty days. When Notre Dame got wind of the incident, they canceled his scholarship and offer to play there. In 1996, however, he was off to Florida State to make his mark with legendary football coach Bobby Bowden.
He ended up at Marshall University. In his freshman year, he helped get them to the 1-AA championship game and set a college record for freshmen with 28 touchdown passes for the season. He led the nation in kick returns, had over one thousand yards in receiving and was named the Southern Conference Freshman of the Year.
His sophomore season saw him gather in 2,178 yards receiving with 25 touchdowns and his name was more than whispered as a candidate for the legendary Heisman Trophy. His sophomore year ended with Randy deciding to enter the NFL draft. He was taken in the first round of the 1998 draft by the Minnesota Vikings.
Randy ended up winning Offensive Rookie of the Year honors as the Vikings finished up at 15-1. Randy had amassed 17 touchdowns, 69 catches, and 1,313 yards receiving.
Randy set a Vikings record in 2000 with 1,437 yards receiving on 77 catches. He also led the league in touchdowns with 15. Unfortunately, he began getting the reputation of someone who was unreliable and subject to mood swings.
Randy was injured in 2004 but his teammates supported him. Minnesota traded him to the Oakland Raiders. Shortly after he was shipped to the New England Patriots in 2007. Despite his rocky past, Moss will be remembered as one of the top wide receivers to ever play the game.