FOXBORO MA - OCTOBER 31: Randy Moss #84 of the Minnesota Vikings runs onto the field before a game against the New England Patriots at Gillette Stadium on October 31 2010 in Foxboro Massachusetts. (Photo by Jim Rogash/Getty Images)
Randy Moss is ready to return to the NFL, he said Monday, but will any teams try to sign him? Hard to say, but the reason teams might be reluctant is the reason his comeback would be so great. Plus: Jose Canseco heads for Mexico, LeBron saves America, the NCAA can't win, and we remember Whitney Houston's moment at the Super Bowl. Talking Points is a series that highlights some of the best stories in sports (and elsewhere). Read the archives here.
If nothing else, on Monday Randy Moss at least become the human antidote to 5,000,000,000 stories about Peyton Manning in the next six months. Exhibit A: Would you rather listen to Around The Horn debate Manning's landing spot, or Randy Moss talk about Canada?
"Have you ever visited Canada?" was the question Moss repeated on today's live broadcast. "No," he answered, "But I wouldn't mind going to look at some grizzly bears there." And scenes like this:
Moss is in Charles Barkley territory these days, where he's got nothing to prove to anyone, and he's free to tell the truth and be himself without worrying too much about the consequences. Kobe Bryant's there, too, and it's made his interviews a thousand times more fun. And this is why we should all be rooting for Moss to come back next season. Whether it's on the football field, the broadcast booth, a daily broadcast on Ustream. Whatever. More Moss in our lives would never be a bad thing.
On Monday he talked about making a comeback and told the Internet, "My heart and my mind wasn't really into it, man, 'cause I had some things going on off the field, so now that I've been able to address those problems, and tried to get a grip on things ... you know, I had a talk with my family and they let me know, 'baby, it's fine, whatever you want to do.' Your boy is gonna come back and play some football, man. I'm very excited. Like I said, man, I just had a lot of things that I had to adjust in my life, man.
"Faith, family, and football," he added. "That's my M.O., bro. If one of those three is off balance, man, then you get a mad, disappointed, and sad Moss." But he's ready for a fresh start. "Hopefully I get on a team, man, and hopefully I can finish this thing the way I want to."
As to whether anyone should give him a chance ... If he's in the right place emotionally, he's still the player that has more wisdom to offer a team than just about any veteran skill player in football. It reminds me of what one player said after he was cut from the Vikings last year:
Look at the tape. Look at the coverages. Look at what he does for everybody else. Percy [Harvin] is running free all over the field right now. The running game is moving along. I don’t even care about the fact that he’s smarter than everybody on the coaching staff. He’s a game-changer.
Who knows whether a comeback will ever happen, but it'd be pretty great if it did. Not just because Moss the player was once the personification of "fantasy football", but in a league that's perpetually encased in eight layers of PR, Moss is one of the only guys around who cuts to the core every time he opens his mouth. Whether he's talking about the Patriot Way, the coaching staff in Minnesota, Myra Kraft, or grizzly bears in Canada.
He's too old to play PR games, and he's ready to give football his last best shot. The first part of that sentence may complicate the second, but it's also a reason to hope he catches on somewhere.
If not, though, we'll still be entertained.
Nobody in the NFL can stop us from watching him catch fish.
And with that, Talking Points is back. Now that football's done, we'll have more time to have some fun around here, and that should mean more Talking Points. Let's run down the rest of the day's news...
THE OTHER BEST COMEBACK EVER. Eastbound and Down come to life:
The 47-year-old [Jose[ Canseco, who hasn't played pro ball for 11 years, is going to try out for the Mexican League's current champs, the Quintana Roo Tigers, according to the Chicago Tribune.
"Back in baseball I knew I would play this year you just gotta believe in your dreams," Canseco tweeted Sunday. "Leave on redeye tonite to start spring training."
"Had some issues." --> C'mon, Jose. Were they issues with steroids dealers? A romance gone bad? Were La Polícia involved? Did Mark McGwire have a bad tequila night and accidentally murder a mule in Tijuana? AMERICA NEEDS TO KNOW MORE.
THE NCAA IS MAKING A THINNER RULEBOOK FOR EVERYONE TO IGNORE. From the Birmingham News: "Bring back athlete-only dorms with unlimited food. Let coaches talk publicly about their recruits. Allow transfers in all sports to immediately play. Those are among the ideas being discussed as the NCAA tries to produce a slimmer and more efficient rulebook..."
The most interesting wrinkle there would be the transfer rule.
For instance, the working group cautioned that its guiding principles related to academic standards could result in transfers being allowed to play immediately. That could happen in all sports by ending the residency requirement that makes transfers attend a new school for one year before becoming eligible to play. The working group wrote that transfers could play immediately if leaving a school doesn't affect progress toward graduation...
On the one hand, it's incredibly unfair to force certain players to sit out an extra year (or two, in some cases) just because they want to leave school to, say, be closer to a sick relative.
On the other hand, if you remove the one-year penalty, there's no telling how many more players would transfer every year--and it wouldn't necessarily help them all. A lot of guys stick with a tough situation and it makes them stronger in the end (think Tom Brady at Michigan). And that's to say nothing of the leverage coaches lose if players become free agents after every season in school. Suddenly, disciplining already-entitled college kids becomes a lot tougher.
In a lot of cases, transfer rules can be incredibly unfair and downright cruel. It's the NCAA infringing on personal freedom, basically. But if you're looking to make wholesale changes, there are unintended consequences of fairness make things a whole lot more complicated. All of which is to say, the transfer rule's a tricky situation and microcosm of the NCAA's biggest problems, in general.
THE ONE WHERE LEBRON THREATENS TO FIGHT A FAN. Yes yes, LeBron allegedly threatened to kick a fan's ass this weekend. More fun to think about: What if he actually kicked a fan's ass? Wouldn't that be the biggest sports scandal of this decade? You would see...
- Criminal charges pressed in Washington D.C.
- Chris Bosh sobbing at the press conference wondering where it all went wrong.
- A 130-game suspension that takes LeBron out of this season AND next season.
- Maverick Carter holds a joint press conference with Jesse Jackson to protest.
- Riots at All-Star Weekend, probably.
- LeBron pleas out of the charges, spends six weeks in jail.
- Cleveland celebrates with the first victory parade the city's seen in 60 years.
- ESPN explodes into a ball of fire, obviously.
- But Skip Bayless emerges unscathed, like a roach, and tells you he was right all along.
- Bayless uses the momentum to make a late-bid for an open Senate seat, wins going away, and eight years from now he's President of the United States.
Did LeBron threaten a Wizards fan Friday night, or did he show an impressive level of restraint and inadvertently save the world?
LINSANITY: DAY 8. We'll have more on Jeremy Lin later this week, but for now, check out Ziller's piece explaining the domino effects he may have, and enjoy this beautiful mess of a video.
"He's a lean, mean, studying machine!" was my favorite part.
ONE MORE NOTE ON RANDY MOSS. This is just a reminder from earlier this season, but yeah, let's not forget that Randy Moss plays Call of Duty every single day with Kenny Britt.
FINALLY, REST IN PEACE WHITNEY HOUSTON. Over at Deadspin, Drew Magary outlines the stages of internet grief with Whitney Houston as our latest example, and over the weekend, Spencer Hall put this essay together, looking back at that one, incredible moment at the Super Bowl.
And there’s Whitney. She has on this misbegotten jumpsuit, something a fat F1 pit crew member cast off five years previously. The hair is pulled back with a simple white hairband. She could be grocery shopping, or walking out to get the mail. There is a small breed dog that goes with this outfit. It is not housetrained, and never will be.
She destroys it. Just fucking annihilates the anthem, careening full-throttle into every high note. She had no reason to hesitate: the song was lip-synced, something you probably found out later and are still somewhat surprised by because seriously, watch her lips quiver, the chest rise with the inhalation. She could have nailed it live. For all we know, she did. The anthem’s singing her. She’s a medium for something Francis Scott Key never knew was in there, a voice that’s neither feminine nor masculine, an arrest of the eyes towards an invisible American flag that appears somewhere in the distance no matter when or where you hear it.
More than anything, it is a motherfucking anthem.
Rest in peace, Whitney.