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Moves, emotions have Moss causin' a commotion

Tuesday, July 5, 2005
Moss gobbles up Cowboys
By Bob Carter
Special to

Signature Game

Nov. 27, 1998 - Randy Moss was upset with the Dallas Cowboys. He believed they had lied to him. While 19 teams had passed on Moss in the draft, not all of them said they would select him if he were still available. The Cowboys did.

On Thanksgiving in Irvine, Tex., Moss made the Cowboys pay, turning them into turkeys. The rookie wide receiver caught three passes and all went for touchdowns of more than 50 yards as he led Minnesota (11-1) to a 46-36 victory.

On the game's fourth play, the Vikings called a flea-flicker, with quarterback Randall Cunningham throwing a bomb to Moss. When Dallas' defensive backs bit on the run fake, it left Moss wide open for a 51-yard touchdown.

After the Cowboys cut Minnesota's lead to 14-6, Moss beat Kevin Smith deep down the right sideline, made the catch despite pass interference by the cornerback, and scored on the 56-yard play.

Late in the third quarter, Cunningham threw a simple four-yard hitch pass to Moss. But Moss turned it into something special by shaking off a tackle and bolting down the left sideline. When Terry Billups had an angle on him at the 10, Moss gave him a breathtaking stop-and-go move and shot into the end zone to finish another 56-yard touchdown.

Moss wouldn't talk after the game, but his teammates couldn't shut up about him. "He's a blessing from God," Cunningham said.

Odds 'n' Ends

  • Moss led DuPont High School to two state football championships. In track, he won two state sprint titles as a sophomore.

  • In basketball, he averaged 30 points as a senior and was known for his dunking ability. He became the school's career scoring leader with 1,713 points in his three seasons (1993-95).

  • At DuPont, Moss played two seasons of basketball with Jason Williams, the flashy NBA point guard now with Memphis. The two were featured in a 1999 Nike commercial.

  • In February 1997, he had only three days of practice before the Southern Conference indoor track championships. He won another double, taking the 55 meters and the 200. He ran the 200 in 21.15 seconds, missing the conference record by .02 seconds.

  • In 1997, his second season at Marshall, Moss had 2,178 all-purpose yards, best in the Mid-American Conference and third in the nation. During his two years with the Thundering Herd, he averaged 168 yards of offense per game.

  • He finished fourth in balloting for the Heisman Trophy in 1997.

  • When he joined the Vikings, he was befriended by fellow wide receiver Chris Carter. While Carter had been betrayed as his mentor, Moss said Carter wasn't.

  • Moss' 17 touchdown receptions in 1998 were an NFL rookie record, beating the 13 held by Bill Howton and John Jefferson. The 17 also tied Carter's Vikings team record.

  • Moss was named to six All-Pro teams as a rookie, including the Associated Press, and was chosen Rookie of the Year by four publications.

  • On Nov. 14, 1999, Moss had career highs in catches (12) and yards (204) in a game at Chicago. His 1,413 receiving yards for the season broke Carter's team mark, and his seven games with 100-plus yards set a Viking record.

  • He was named to the USA Today All-Pro team in 1999.

  • In June 2000, Moss was thrown off a US Airways flight before takeoff when he got into a verbal confrontation with a flight attendant.

  • He had eight 100-yard receiving games in 2000, breaking his team record. He was named to three All-Pro teams: AP, USA Today and College & Pro Football Newsweekly.

  • Moss didn't miss a game in his first four NFL seasons, and scored 54 touchdowns in his 64 games. St. Louis Rams running back Marshall Faulk was the only league player with more TDs than Moss since 1998. He had 69.

  • Moss had 308 receptions for 5,396 yards over those four seasons, averaging 17.5 yards per catch. His 53 receiving touchdowns ranked second in Viking history to Carter, who has 109.

  • He works with Randy's Purple Pioneers in the Twin Cities, a program run by a children's home.

  • Moss played for the Pennsylvania Valley Dawgs of the United States Basketball League in the spring of 2001. He scored seven points in his first game.

  • Moss had a daughter, Sydney, and a son, Thaddeus, with his girlfriend Libby.

  • In September 2002, Moss spent a night in a jail cell for his arrest on suspicion of bumping a traffic control agent with his Lexus sedan in Minneapolis. He was charged with two misdemeanor offenses -- careless driving and failure to obey a traffic officer -- and released.

  • On March 2, 2005 the Vikings traded Moss to the Oakland Raiders for linebacker Napoleon Harris, a No. 1 draft choice (seventh overall) and a seventh-round pick.

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