Moss doesn't 'understand' role as 49er decoy

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Moss doesn't 'understand' role as 49er decoy

NEW ORLEANS -- Randy Moss turns 36 on February 13. He said Tuesday during Media Day that he plans on returning for a 15th season.

He indicated that, unless his role in San Francisco changes, he'll be looking for work elsewhere.

"I dont like my role; I dont," Moss said to the media mass in front of his podium. "I like to be out there playing football."

I caught up to Moss as he left the podium and was headed for the 49ers team picture.

Mentioning to him that his statement seemed inflammatory, Moss replied, "You know I don't care. Y'all can mix it how you wanna mix it. I just want to play football and I'm a playmaker. And for me to go out there and blocking, I understand that's part of the game. For me to be out here and be a decoy, I understand that's part of the game. But for me not to be out here making plays it's something I don't understand. But if that's what's gonna bring me a ring, I accept that."

Undoubtedly, Moss can still get it done at a pretty high level. This year, he caught 33 of the 58 balls sent his way, including the postseason. For a downfield receiver, that's a decent completion rate. But 33 catches in 18 games is not what he's accustomed to. Will any team see him as a staple of their offense, or does Moss need to resign himself to the fact he's a player at this point that drags the defense with him downfield and only gets a few opportunities a game to make plays?

For a player as gifted as Moss, it's a very difficult transition.

"One thing that Ive always had to really understand was being a decoy," he explained while at the podium. "It was put to me, (by former Minnesota Vikings coach) Dennis Green just said, Even though the football is not in your hand, youre still out there dictating how the defense is playing the offense. It took me awhile to really understand where he was coming from.

"Later on and now in my career, I understand that my presence out on the field, I dont always have to touch the ball to be able to help the offense score touchdowns," he continued. "Like I said, I dont really like that, but its something that Im used to. I have to grow to understand and grow to like it. Ive always been a team player. Ive never been about self. Anything that is going to push our team to victory and hopefully win a Super Bowl, Im willing to do.

The "grow to like it" portion of that answer doesn't ring true given his more candid statements about not liking the role. But it's hard to believe his role is going to expand in 2013 no matter where he goes.

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

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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)