Brady would welcome Moss back with open arms

532510.jpg

Brady would welcome Moss back with open arms

By Tom E. Curran
CSNNE.com Patriots Insider Follow @tomecurran
Sometimes you think things are gone and they return. Gout. Migraines. I'm sure you can come up with a few others.

Add "breathless speculation that Randy Moss will return to the New England Patriots" as another impossible to eradicate item.

Over the weekend, a report emerged that Moss would return to the Patriots if they came knocking.

In other words, he would abandon a retirement forced by rampant disinterest in his services if the team that threw up its hands first would have him back. Ummm, of course he would.

And I would consider becoming a touring PGA professional if the golfing powers-that-be handed me a tour card.

Neither scenario seems likely. A refresher: The Patriots traded Moss after four games in 2010 because he'd become a pain, Tom Brady's trust in him had eroded and Moss' output was on the wane. After he left New England, he did nothing to prove the Patriots wrong while New England went 14-2 and exploded offensively without him.

Moss, realizing he'd messed up the best football thing he'd ever had, spent the rest of the season pining for a return.

Tuesday on WEEI, Brady breathed life back into a story that has all the elements necessary to get it to dominate a days worth of news.

Asked if hed be surprised if he were throwing to Moss again, Brady said he wouldnt be surprised by anything. He added, I love Randy, he's one of the greatest receivers to ever play the game, one of the greatest players I've ever played with. Unfortunately, I dont make personnel decisions (or) I'd still have all my friends here. Troy (Brown) would still be here. David Patten would still be here. Deion (Branch) would never have left. It's just . . . Ive seen so many guys move on over the years and then guys come back, who knows, who knows. You never know what situation well be in even next week.

Then Brady added the quote that was the equivalent of putting the paddles to the chest of a flatlining man. I love the guy, hes a great friend of mine, and if he ever did come back and play, Id welcome him with open arms.

Follow this timeline. A reporter nobody heard of, Chip Fontanazza of West Virginia Metro News (and Ive been one of those as well, so sorry if you take offense, Chip), reported that an unnamed source told him Moss would return to the NFL if the right opportunity presented itself. And the source added that Moss would most likely only return to the Patriots.

Fontanazza, perhaps not coincidentally, talked to Moss 1-on-1 over the weekend. So either Moss told Fontanazza off camera and told Chip to keep his name off it, or a person in Moss entourage that day told Fontanazza hed come back for the Patriots.

OK, thats newsish. Not anything we didnt presume before the weekend arrived but confirmation, I guess.

And now, off Chips story, Brady had the question posed to him about Moss returning. I have no doubt Brady had heard nothing about the Moss story from the weekend. He doesnt pay attention to that stuff.

So he was caught a little off-guard. But hes too smooth to say anything but the right thing even when caught cold like that.

But Brady missed an opportunity to douse the story completely by saying, Were focused on the guys who are here right now.

Oversight or message sending? If he is sending a message that he would like Moss back, hes had a change of heart from last October.

Tom E. Curran can be reached at tcurran@comcastsportsnet.com. Follow Tom on Twitter at http:twitter.comtomecurran

Poll ranks Patriots as NFL's most 'badass' team

patriots_tom_brady_huddle_112716.jpg

Poll ranks Patriots as NFL's most 'badass' team

Five-time Super Bowl champions. Seven-time AFC champs. Fourteen-time AFC East champs. Now, Bill Belichick's Patriots have another title.

NFL's most "badass" team.

The Tampa Bay Times polled a panel of 43 NFL writers and asked them for the top three most "badass" teams and players in the NFL.

MORE PATRIOTS

The defending Super Bowl champion Patriots came out on top with 29 top-three votes. 

Here's a sampling of the panelists' comments:

"They keep winning in a league designed to discourage dynasties." -Terez A. Paylor, Kansas City Star

"Hands down. They take a three-touchdown lead and keep throwing, and throwing, and don't give a damn what anybody thinks." -Tyler Dunne, Bleacher Report

"For a decade they've been toying with and laughing at the rest of the league. The biggest bullies on the block." — Ralph Vacchiano, SNY

"Behind the glitz and glamour of having the game's greatest quarterback, the Patriots ranked among the league's top 10 scoring defenses each of the past five seasons, including No. 1 in 2016." — Ryan Wood, Green Bay Press-Gazette

The most badass player? Veteran Steelers linebacker James Harrison. The highest-ranked Patriot on the list? Tom Brady at No. 6. Rob Gronkowski was tied with Raiders linebacker Khalil Mack at No. 8. Julian Edelman was among the others receiving votes. 

Here are the full rankings: 

MOST BADASS TEAM 

1. Patriots (29 votes)

2. Seahawks (27)

3. Steelers (18)

4. Raiders (9)

5. Ravens (8)

6t. Broncos (6)

6t. Cowboys (6)

8. Bengals (4)

9t. Cardinals (2)

9t. Packers (2)

9t. Panthers (2)

9t. Texans (2)

Also receiving votes: Chiefs, Falcons, Rams, Titans (1 each)

MOST BADASS PLAYER

1. James Harrison, Steelers LB (14 votes)

2t. Marshawn Lynch, Raiders RB (10)

2t. J.J. Watt, Texans DE (10)

4t. Kam Chancellor, Seahawks S (8)

4t. Ndamukong Suh, Dolphins DT (8)

6. Tom Brady, Patriots QB (7)

7. Von Miller, Broncos LB (6)

8t. Rob Gronkowski, Patriots TE (5)

8t. Khalil Mack, Raiders LB (5)

10. Aaron Donald, Rams DT (4)