Fame, shame go toe-to-toe

MIKE ZEISBERGER, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 10:00 AM ET

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- Randy Moss took one look at the gaggle of local media watching his New England Patriots practise the other day and immediately broke into an all-Pro scowl.

At that point, the enigmatic wideout spoke to the media for the first time since May.

It wasn't pretty.

"He told us: 'All you media are roaches. Cockroaches.' " recounted a photographer from one of the Boston dailies, shaking his head in disgust.

Welcome to Randy's World, where Mr. Moss (other than cussing the press) lets his stats his talking.

Of course, such silence is rare in T.O.'s World, where Terrell Owens will talk to anyone who listens.

And, in many cases, those who don't want to.

NO FAN OF NO-HUDDLE

Owens, for example, was asked last week if he likes the Buffalo Bills' new no-huddle offence.

"No," he replied, claiming it leaves offensive players a bit fatigued.

Imagine how Bills coach Dick Jauron feels, having his star player criticize his own team's offensive system.

Two elite receivers and two entirely different personalities.

Moss avoids microphones. Owens seeks them out.

Away from the field, Moss wants to be left alone.

Away from the field, Owens has his own reality show on VH1 ensuring fans get enough T.O. in their diet, whether they want it or not.

Yet, these two men do share one trait.

Both likely are bound for the hall of fame.

And hall-of-shame bound.

When Moss' Patriots play host to Owens' Bills this evening at a raucous Gillette Stadium, fans will see two of the elite receivers of this -- and, arguably, any other era -- under the spotlight of Monday Night Football.

And for those three hours, perhaps, just perhaps, football fans will momentarily be able to forget the warts that have plagued their otherwise magnificent careers.

Moss' brush with the law is well-documented. From striking a Minneapolis traffic cop with his car during his days with the Vikings, to refuting allegations that he committed battery against a Florida woman two years ago, his closet is not lacking for skeletons.

Owens, of course, has his own checkered past, having criticized all of his past three starting quarterbacks -- Jeff Garcia, Donovan McNabb and Tony Romo. And who can forget the incident three years ago in which Owens, having been rushed to a Dallas hospital after mixing painkillers with supplements, denied reports he had attempted suicide?

Unfortunately, these off-field shenanigans, at times, remove the spotlight from the magnificent skill of these two athletes, who each wear No. 81 on their jersey, stand at least 6-foot-4 and can run like the wind, causing Cincinnati Bengals receiver Laveranues Coles to call them athletic "freaks."

But if fans expect Moss to be motivated by the presence of T.O. in the house, guess again.

"T.O. never really has gotten my juices flowing," Moss told ESPN.com in a May interview.

"I pay attention to what he does, and hopefully he pays attention to what I do, but as far as us being a matchup between one another, we don't guard one another.

"This is my 12th season, so I'm not really feeding into the hype. But for it to be Monday night and Tom Brady's big comeback, hopefully as a team we step up to the challenge and meet all our expectations and give the world something good to watch on Monday Night Football," Moss added.

Indeed, all eyes will be on the Brady-Moss combination.

Brady, returning from the knee injury in the 2008 opener that knocked him out for the season, hopes to rediscover the 2007 chemistry he had with his favourite target, one that left Moss setting the single-season record for receiving touchdowns with 23.

NEVER THAT

As for Owens, who makes his Bills regular-season debut tonight, well, he won't be boring.

He's never that.

"Tell (Bill) Belichick I might bring my Spy Cam," Owens chuckled, referring to the Pats coach who was involved in Spy-Gate two years ago.

And what of those who expect him to fail in Buffalo?

"I have no worries about the ability that I have to play," he said with swagger.

"Anybody that has anything to question, as far as my abilities go, their opinions, you know, they don't count."

In T.O.'s World, they never do.

mike.zeisberger@sunmedia.ca

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TWO SIDES OF TWO STARS

(STATS INCLUDE NFL CAREER RANKING IN PARENTHESES)

RANDY MOSS

The Good: 774 career receptions (20th); 12,193 career receiving yards (13th); 120 receiving TDs (5th)

And The Bad:

- 2002: Knocks a Minneapolis traffic cop to the ground with his car, then is charged with drug possession. Later reaches an out-of-court settlement with the policeman.

- 2005: Pretends to pull down his pants and moon the crowd after his Vikings beat rival Packers in Green Bay.

- 2007: Insists allegations that he committed battery against a Florida woman are "false," claiming she is just trying to get money out of him.

TERRELL OWENS

The Good: 882 career receptions (9th); 13,070 career receiving yards (10th); 128 receiving TDs (3rd)

And The Bad:

- 2000: Dances on fabled midfield star at Texas Stadium after scoring a TD for the visiting 49ers. Celebration is cut short when the Cowboys George Teague steamrolls him.

- 2005: After being suspended by the Eagles, holds impromptu press conference in his driveway where he does sit-ups while answering questions from the press.

- 2006: Rushed to a Dallas hospital after mixing painkillers with supplements, denies police and medical reports that he had attempted suicide.


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