Tough love pays off

KIRK PENTON -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 9:41 AM ET

Greg Moss could have ended up on the wrong side of the tracks.

That's an easy thing to do when you grow up in the Carol City area of Miami.

"I never saw anybody get murdered or anything like that, but I saw a lot of drug use," Moss said. "I saw a lot of people who were selling drugs, using drugs.

"I saw all kinds of criminals. But you just gotta know what's best for you. I knew that wasn't the route for me, so I stayed far, far away from it. I had close friends who were doing that type of stuff."

Luckily for Moss, the newest starter in the Winnipeg Blue Bombers secondary, he had a caring family full of football players. Therefore, he got the support he needed to stay on the straight and narrow, and he realized that football could be an occupation if he put his mind to it.

His older cousin, Santana Moss, is a Pro Bowl receiver for the NFL's Washington Redskins, while his younger cousin, Santana's brother Sinorice, is a receiver for the New York Giants.

He also had two older cousins who played NCAA football at Georgia Tech and Cincinnati, so he was on the gridiron path from the get-go.

"I saw what they were doing, and I said, 'OK, I like playing football, so I'm going to try to take the same route,' " Moss said. "My parents, they pretty much made sure I was on the right path. I had some help."

Moss's mom, Debra Deal, raised Moss by herself, although his father, Greg Moss Sr., was never far away. He also had grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins to keep him out of trouble.

'RIGHT THING'

"My father, he was around. I had a close family," Moss said. "My grandparents were around. Everybody was around when I was growing up, my aunts and uncles.

"It was a pretty big family, but everybody played their part as far as raising me and teaching me and my cousins what was the right thing to do and what was wrong."

Moss attended Florida International and had 101 tackles and four interceptions in three seasons. He was also the Golden Panthers' special teams player of the year in 2003 with nearly 1,000 yards on kick and punt returns.

He was discovered by the Ottawa Renegades at a free-agent camp in Miami and was the team's rookie of the year in 2005 after recording three fumble recoveries and an interception.

The Renegades suspended operations the following year, and Moss was picked by the Montreal Alouettes in the dispersal draft, but he was cut in training camp.

The Bombers signed Moss in March because defensive co-ordinator Greg Marshall, who coached him in Ottawa, is obviously a fan of his talents.

Further evidence that the Bombers are high on the 5-foot-6 ball hawk came last Thursday when he was inserted at the starting wide-side cornerback spot in a 20-18 win over Montreal -- despite spending the first three weeks of the season on the injured list.

Cheering him on back in Dade County was his proud mom, who was able to catch the game on an American cable TV channel.

"She always worked when I was growing up, and she was at all my football games," Moss said. "Everything I did, she was there.

"Even after this game, she called and the first thing she said to me was, 'You missed a tackle.' "

The tough love never ends.


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