NEW YORK - Record-setting wide receiver Randy Moss, one of the National Football League’s greatest long-strike pass catchers, was retiring after 13 seasons, his agent said Monday.
The 34-year-old Moss, who holds the record for the most touchdown catches in an NFL season and most by a rookie, had considered playing on but decided it was time to call it quits.
“After weighing his options and contemplating offers, he’s decided to retire,” his agent, Joel Segal, told ESPN.
Moss, whose height, speed and athleticism made him a supreme deep threat, played most of his career with the Minnesota Vikings, who chose him as their first pick in the 1998 NFL Draft.
He also played with the Oakland Raiders, New England Patriots and Tennessee Titans.
An instant success, the 6 foot 4 inch tall speedster, scored 17 touchdowns in his rookie season and earned the first of his seven Pro Bowl selections.
In 2007, while playing for the Patriots, he caught 23 touchdown passes, surpassing the previous season record held by Jerry Rice.
That season took Moss all the way to the Super Bowl with an unbeaten team that fell just short of completing a spotless campaign when they were upset by the New York Giants.
Moss finished his career tied for second all-time with 153 career touchdown catches, fifth in receiving yards with 14,858 and eighth in career receptions with 954.
“His body control, his ability to slow himself, elevate, and position himself is unbelievable, better than anybody I’ve ever seen play the game,” Hall of Fame wide receiver James Lofton told USA TODAY.
“He had a phenomenal presence on the football field. He was a player that defenses had to adjust to and really didn’t do a very good job of it.”
It was not always such smooth sailing for Moss off the field over the years.
He was arrested in 2002 for bumping his car into a parking control officer and police later found marijuana in his vehicle. He was also fined for once pretending to ‘moon’ spectators and was criticized for squirting water at a referee and walking off the field early when a game was still incomplete.
Between the lines, however, Moss was a tremendous weapon, and NFL analyst Robert Smith said he would not be surprised to see Moss resurface in the league.
“He’s as talented a guy as I’ve ever seen play the game,” said Smith, a former running back who played alongside Moss on the Vikings from 1998-2000.
“Without a Super Bowl (victory), I think he can’t help but look at his resume and say that it was a disappointment. I would be completely surprised if he was actually retired.”