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Randy Moss ( 1977 - )  Category ( Athletes ) [suggest a correction]

Randy MossThroughout his tumultuous career in football, Randy Moss has demonstrated that he can outrun everything except trouble.

A fight in high school cost him a scholarship to Notre Dame. A failed drug test got him kicked off the team at Florida State. As a pro wide receiver with the Minnesota Vikings, he bumped a traffic cop with his car, pretended to moon Green Bay Packer fans from the end zone, and consistently made headlines with ill-advised statements.

There has always been a tendency to overlook all of this, however, because Moss is 6-foot-4, weighs 215 pounds, runs the 40-yard dash in under 4.5 seconds (4.25 in his prime)and has hands like flypaper. In the pragmatic world of professional sports, mega-talent often trumps a bad attitude.

At Dupont High School in West Virginia, Moss was All-State in football and twice state Player of the Year in basketball. But on March 23, 1995, he got into a hallway scuffle at his school while taking the side of a friend, and the other combatant wound up in the hospital. Moss was first charged with felony assault, but that was dropped to a misdemeanor.

Moss' half-brother, Eric, had played tackle at Notre Dame, and Randy wanted to go there, too. That was fine with the Irish, who signed him to a letter of intent, until the fight in the hallway. The scholarship offer was rescinded, but Notre Dame's coaches suggested that Moss try Florida State. Seminole coach Bobby Bowden took a chance on him, saying later: "He was as good as Deion Sanders. Deion's my measuring stick for athletic ability, and this kid was just a bigger Deion.

Red-shirted during his freshman season (the NCAA ruled that because he had signed the letter on intent with Notre Dame, he was considered a transfer student), and before he could play a game from FSU, he failed a test for marijuana.

Moss finally wound up at Division 1-AA Marshall, where he set numerous national records for pass receiving and kick returning and was projected as a high National Football League draft pick. But his past came back to haunt him, and Moss sat and fretted until he was chosen by Minnesota with the 21st pick.

That fall, Moss set an NFL record for most touchdown receptions by a rookie (17), helping the Vikings to a 15-1 record before they lost to Atlanta in the conference finals. The following year, he caught 80 passes for 1,413 yards and 11 touchdowns, then had five catches for 127 yards and a touchdowns in the playoffs against Dallas, one of the teams that had spurned him on draft day.

Moss went on to make the Pro Bowl five times in his seven years with Minnesota, but he had worn out his welcome by 2005, in part because of a statement that he "took a few plays off" during games.

Traded to Oakland, he was a disappointment in 2005, partly because of nagging injuries, and the Raiders shipped him off to New England. There, with tough coach Bill Belichick keeping him in line and Tom Brady throwing him the ball, he had a breakojut season, catching 23 touchdown passes as the Patriots were 16-0 in the regular season before losing to the New York Giants in the Super Bowl.

Since joining the Patriots, Moss has been on his best behavior.

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