There's no questioning Randy Moss

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There's no questioning Randy Moss

By Rich Levine
CSNNE.com

It's Tuesday morning at Mall of America Field.

We open on a crowded press conference.

The podium is empty, except for a table featuring two microphones one labeled "R. Moss," and the other "Randy M." A hoard of deadline-ridden reporters anxiously wait for the proceedings to begin.

Suddenly, a lone man emerges from behind the curtain, pulls up a chair right in between the two mics, calmly flips his hat to the back and is ready to roll.

"All right, y'all. Let's get this over with," he says, speaking into the microphone to his right.

Five reporters simultaneously shout out their question:

"Randy, how was to be back in New England!? Randy, is Brett OK?! Randy, talk about how the Pats shut you down! Randy, why did you give up on that bomb from Favre?! Randy, Randy, only two targets? Talk about those two targets!"

"OK, OK. Take it easy," he implores. "This won't work if y'all yelling all at once. How 'bout this: If you have a question, just raise your hand. Raise it real nice and high like you're 'bout to hot route a corner. And I'll call on y'all one by one. Let's be civilized, all right?"

Fifteen arms shoot up, and Moss scans the room, quietly contemplating whom to acknowledge first. After a few tense moments, he looks to the empty microphone on his left, shifts his chair in that direction and raises his own hand. He moves back to the right and says:

"OK, Randy. You're up first."

"Thanks, Randy. First, I just wanna let you know how much I appreciate all you been through this year. I wanna say that I appreciate all you done. I wanna make sure you know that you ARE appreciated. And always will be."

"I appreciate you for saying that, buddy. Now what's your question?"

"OK, I appreciate you cutting to the chase, so here it is:

"You knew all the plays the Patriots were gonna run on Sunday, right? I mean, you knew exactly when they were gonna run them, exactly how they were gonna run them, and you knew the perfect way to stop them. Basically, if you were in charge of that game plan, it woulda been a blow out. So, why didn't anybody listen to you? Why is it clearly everyone else's fault that you guys lost?"

Moss lets out a little chuckle.

"Listen, man. I'm not gonna touch on that right now. Randy Moss isn't about that kind of nonsense. He's about the team. Now don't get me wrong I think that's a terrific question, and I respect your opinion. But it's just not something I feel comfortable discussing. OK, next question."

He quickly shifts back to the other microphone.

"Wait, wait, Randy! Just one more follow up

"In your postgame comments, you seemed to try and distance yourself from the team. When you spoke, you made reference to the 'Minnesota Vikings' and 'their' organization which gave off the vibe that you don't consider yourself a part of the organization; that you feel like an outsider. That was magnified when you used your press conference to gush over just about every guy on the Pats payroll, while not mentioning your current teammates including your injured QB even once.

"So, my question is: What have they done to force you to feel this way? Now I'm just thinking out loud, but is it because they ignored your aforementioned perfect game plan? Is it because they don't respect your knowledge of the game or commitment to winning?

"Also, am I wrong to assume that they obviously don't respect what you can do on the field, either? I mean, two targets, man? They're out of their mind to only target you twice! If we're being honest, I gotta ask: Why did they even trade for you? Don't they realize that you're in a contract year? If they're not gonna offer you a deal, isn't it only fair that they at least give you a chance to succeed?"

Moss takes a second, before sliding back over.

"Ahh, man," he says, shaking his head and smiling. "First of all, I told y'all that I was done talking about the contract. For now, I'm keeping my opinions on that to myself. Although, I do understand what you're saying and probably agree with all of it.

"But as far as far as the team goes? As far as not feeling welcome in Minnesota? As far 'that' organization completely wasting my potential and ruining my last big payday?

"I hate to even bring that up, man. That's not the kinda guy I am."

Moss now looks exhausted. Emotionally drained. He's no longer comfortable in front of his microphones.

"All right, guys, I gotta go get myself right for next Sunday. But I know you gotta job to do. I don't want to leave y'all out in the cold. So let's go with one more question." He cracks out a tired smile. "And let's make it a good one!"

The hands go back up, but Moss doesn't see them. He stares at the empty mic to his left, pauses for a second, and says:

"OK, Randy. Bring us home."

"Aww, me again? Good stuff, man. Listen, I don't want to put words in your mouth, but let me just say this. I think Sunday was unbelievably hard for me err, I mean you. I think it was far more difficult and emotionally taxing than you ever imagined. I don't think you ever realized how quickly things could and would go so wrong in Minnesota, and as you sat at the podium after that game, I think the reality of it all finally set in. And in that moment, I think you finally understood the consequences your behavior. In that moment, you realized how fortunate you'd been to go to work every day with a normal, down-to-Earth and selfless quarterback, a competent, confident and proven coach and for an organization that prides itself on winning, above all else and at all costs. In that moment, you wished you still called New England home, but at the same time, finally understood why that's no longer the case, and why you're now stuck in this three-ring Minnesota mess. And it kills you.

"But the only thing that kills you more is the idea of not getting that big contract offer next season, and you know the more bitching and the more public discontent you unleash, the more that offer will decrease; the faster the old 'Randy Moss is a cancer' label turns you into the next TO an all-time great whose spent the end of his career bouncing around terrible teams. And I know I damn it, I mean 'you' don't want that. So you're not gonna talk at all. You're just going to shut up and play, and show the world that Randy Moss still has it, even in the face of adversity.

"You think this will work. Am I right?"

There's a long pause as Moss shifts back into his original position.

"No comment," he says.

"All right. I'm out."

Rich Levine's column runs each Monday, Wednesday and Friday on CSNNE.com. Rich can be reached at rlevine@comcastsportsnet.com. Follow Rich on Twitter at http:twitter.comrlevine33

Jerebko questionable for Wednesday against Bucks

Jerebko questionable for Wednesday against Bucks

WALTHAM, Mass. – The Celtics have spent most of this season playing short-handed and Wednesday’s game against Milwaukee will potentially be another one of those games.
 
Veteran forward Jonas Jerebko has a sore left knee and is considered questionable for the Bucks’ game.
 
“Jonas went through about half of [Tuesday’s] practice,” said Celtics coach Brad Stevens.
 
Jerebko has missed two games this season due to illness.
 
Because of Milwaukee’s length at seemingly every position, Jerebko’s ability to play both forward positions will be something the Celtics will surely miss if he’s unable to play.
 
This season, Jerebko has appeared in 69 games while averaging 3.9 points and 3.4 rebounds while shooting 44.1 percent from the field and 35.0 percent on 3’s.

Rules changes are in: Field-goal leap, crackback blocks banned

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Rules changes are in: Field-goal leap, crackback blocks banned

PHOENIX -- The NFL has announced which rules, bylaw and resolution proposals passed following Tuesday's vote at the Arizona Biltmore. The full list is below, but here are a couple of the noteworthy changes from a Patriots perspective . . . 

* That leap-the-line play that Jamie Collins and Shea McClellin have executed for the Patriots over the course of the last two seasons? That's been prohibited, as expected. The league did not want coaches to be responsible for putting a player in a position where he may suffer a head or neck injury. (Which is different from a player putting himself in that position with a split-second decision to leave his feet mid-play.)

* Receivers running pass routes can now be considered "defenseless." That means that even within the five-yard "chuck" area beyond the line of scrimmage will have some measure of protection. The Patriots, like many teams, have called for linebackers to disrupt the routes of shallow crossers, which can lead to monster hits on unexpecting players. Those types of collisions may now be fewer and farther between.

* Crackback blocks are now prohibited by a player who is in motion, even if the player is not more than two yards outside the tackle box at the snap. What's the Patriots connection here? It seems as though the overtime play that won Super Bowl LI -- during which Julian Edelman came in motion and "cracked" down on corner Brian Poole -- is now illegal. We'll look for clarification on this when the league holds its press conference describing the rules changes later on Tuesday.

Approved 2017 Playing Rules Proposals

2a. By Philadelphia; Prohibits the “leaper” block attempt on field goal and extra point plays. (Final language will be available on NFLCommunications.com)  

8.   By Competition Committee; Makes permanent the rule that disqualifies a player who is penalized twice in one game for certain types of unsportsmanlike conduct fouls. 

9.   By Competition Committee; Changes the spot of the next snap after a touchback resulting from a free kick to the 25-yard line for one year only. 

11. By Competition Committee; Gives a receiver running a pass route defenseless player protection. 

12. By Competition Committee; Makes crackback blocks prohibited by a backfield player who is in motion, even if he is not more than two yards outside the tackle when the ball is snapped. 

13. By Competition Committee; Replaces the sideline replay monitor with a hand-held device and authorizes designated members of the Officiating department to make the final decision on replay reviews. 

14. By Competition Committee; Makes it Unsportsmanlike Conduct to commit multiple fouls during the same down designed to manipulate the game clock. 

15. By Competition Committee; Makes actions to conserve time illegal after the two-minute warning of either half.

Approved 2017 Bylaw Proposals

4.     By Competition Committee; Liberalizes rules for timing, testing, and administering physical examinations to draft-eligible players at a club’s facility for one year only. 

5.     By Competition Committee; Changes the procedures for returning a player on Reserve/Physically Unable to Perform or Reserve/Non-Football Injury or Illness to the Active List to be similar to those for returning a player that was Designated for Return.  

6.     By Competition Committee; The League office will transmit a Personnel Notice to clubs on Sundays during training camp and preseason.

Approved 2017 Resolution Proposal

G-4.     By Competition Committee: Permits a contract or non-contract non-football employee to interview with and be hired by another club during the playing season, provided the employer club has consented.