Randy Moss and 'that thing called quit'

As far as I'm concerned, Cris Carter has always been a knowledgeable and honest source of analysis on Randy Moss, his one-time teammate and protégé when both played for the Minnesota Vikings. And once again, I think Carter nailed his take on Moss' plans to return to the NFL in 2012.

Appearing Tuesday morning on ESPN Radio's "Mike & Mike in the Morning," Carter predicted that Moss would be "in fabulous shape" after a full offseason of training and reiterated his suggestion that Moss could still run the 40-yard dash in less than 4.4 seconds. But Carter accurately identified an important issue NFL teams will need to address before seriously considering his acquisition.

"The one thing you have to address with Randy Moss is not a conditioning thing," Carter said. "It's not an age thing. It needs to be addressed. I believe it's the elephant in the room. It's that thing called quit.

"And Randy, not like any other superstar I've met, he has more quit in him than any of those other players. So I need to address that. That's what [New England Patriots coach Bill] Belichick did when he brought him over from Oakland. He told him he wasn't going to have it.

"But Randy, when things don't go well, like no other player I've ever been around or associated with, he has a quit mechanism in him that's huge. That needs to be addressed before he signs with any team."

Tuesday morning, Moss used his new verified Twitter account to send what appeared to be a response to Carter's twitter account. Although he did not specifically reference Carter's comments, Moss tweeted: "its sad how u stroked ur own ego when u were suppose to b my mentor!then u wonder why karma bites u in the [expletive]! #goodlukwhof"

Ouch. I can tell you from experience that Moss is a first-class hurler of insults. He knows what gets at people, and it's probably safe to assume that Carter's annual exclusion from the Pro Football Hall of Fame is a sensitive subject. It's also an unfair shot. There is no disputing that Moss has quit at various points in his career, while it's hard to connect Carter's past attempts to take credit for Moss' success as a reason he hasn't been elected to the Hall of Fame.

Moss later tweeted: "Cc no matter I still luv u bruh," but I think we all know how damaging the "quitting" issue will be as Moss sells himself to NFL teams this offseason. At his best, Moss is one of the best receivers in the history of the game, one who would be able to play at a high level even if he has lost a step or two. But at his worst, he is a 35-year-old receiver who is two years removed from his last productive season, one who carries the baggage of four messy departures from three different franchises and whose desire and effort continue to be a matter of public discussion. Stay tuned.