Moss soap opera returning to NFL

Wide receiver Randy Moss. (MIKE SEGAR/Reuters file photo)

Wide receiver Randy Moss. (MIKE SEGAR/Reuters file photo)

BILL LANKHOF, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 10:47 PM ET

TORONTO - DeSean Jackson is in, Hines Ward is out, and Randy Moss is coming back.

The NFL off-season just got a little more compelling.

Moss, who abruptly retired last August, announced Monday he intends to play next season.

Chances are, he shows up back with the Patriots, although a lot of other teams are likely to be intrigued. Moss practically owned the end zone in 13 seasons, tying Terrell Owens for second on the career list with 153 touchdown receptions. He’s fifth all-time in yards and ninth in receptions.

“I wanna play football,” Moss said on UStream. “Your boy is going to come back here and play some football, so I’m really excited. I had some things I had to adjust in my life ... Faith, family, and football, that’s my M.O., bro.”

The ego was a bit hard to take but few would deny his talent. Curiously he seemed to fit in well with the Patriots, known for their no-nonsense, low-key approach. He combined with quarterback Tom Brady for a single-season record 23 touchdowns in 2007, and last August made an appearance at the home of Robert Kraft after the owner’s wife, Myra, died.

Moss’ retirement came after he was traded in 2010 by the Patriots back to Minnesota, released by the Vikings and picked up by Tennessee. He recorded career lows of 28 catches for 393 yards and five TDs, but since quitting there have been rumours that he was having second thoughts.

The Steelers are having no second thoughts in parting with Ward.

Ward, 36 next month, became the eighth player in league history to reach 1,000 career receptions last season but his role diminished as Antonio Brown and Emmanuel Sanders passed him on the depth chart and Mike Wallace became a Pro Bowler.

The Steelers, with a roster-bonus deadline approaching and with salary cap issues, have decided not to keep the veteran receiver. He was scheduled to make $4 million. “I don’t normally like to respond to rumours, but as I’ve said all along, I want to finish my career with the Pittsburgh Steelers,” Ward posted on his Facebook page. The finish, even with Hines telling the club he’s willing to take a salary cut, may come sooner than Hines expects, or would like.

In Philadelphia, the Eagles need Jackson more than he needs the Eagles. So, it makes sense for the club to use the franchise tag, then try to work out a long-term deal or get something back in a trade.

The tag means the club has to pay Jackson the average of the top five salaried players at his position, or about $9.1 million next season. He’s too valuable for the Eagles to let go in a what will be a “win or else” season for the franchise under head coach Andy Reid.

CRYING SHAME

There may not be crying in baseball, but there was in football.

At least, there was for Patriots’ running back Kevin Faulk, when coach Bill Belichich told him he wouldn’t dress for the Super Bowl.

“That morning when I got the word that I wasn’t going to dress — wow,” Faulk tells NESN. “(I) cried a little bit because 75% of me knew that this could possibly be my last game — not playing, just dressing. That really crushed me a whole lot.”

Faulk, 35, has played his entire career for the Patriots since 1999 and is expected to retire.

QUICK HITS

Free agent cornerback Stanford Routt visited with the Bills Monday ... A league source reports the Lions are among teams interested in Cortland Finnegan if the Titans decide not to franchise tag him ... Lions president Tom Lewand on the club’s heightened expectations: “Dumping Gatorade on the coach after getting a wild card spot is not where we want to be” ... Saints offensive linemen Jermon Bushrod and Carl Nicks took the most snaps of any players in the NFL with 1,152 ... Rams have named Falcons’ director of player personnel Les Snead as GM.

BULLDOZERS ATTACKS MT. PAIN

The last vestige of the Mike Singletary era with the 49ers is history.

Now that first-year head coach Jim Harbaugh has erased the losing record and years of frustration, bulldozers have knocked down the last visible lingering memory of doing “hard time” under the strident, bombastic Singletary.

The former head coach was renowned for brutal, old-school workouts, including his version of the Nutcracker, a drill that is just this side of a jockstrap short of assault. He also had a hill built in 2009. When players weren’t banging heads in the Nutcracker, Singletary ran them up what became known as Mt. Pain.

Harbaugh never used it.

Singletary might’ve had entertaining practices. Harbaugh had an entertaining — not to mention winning — team. So, now, Mt. Pain has been knocked down to make room for construction of the 49ers’ new stadium.


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