The respect that I have for [Bill Belichick] as a coach and as a man speaks high volumes, because Bill is the one that brought me to New England from Oakland. I commended him and thanked him for that because me being in New England, that was something special. I have never been a part of a team. That’s all I ever wanted to do was be a part of a team. They’re a team. ... I still got love for [the Patriots], I really do man. It’s something that I’ll never forget. We did some magical things up there but the show must go on. It is a business and I think that’s what a lot of people have to understand, the business side of football.
UPDATE: Jackie MacMullen ain't buyin':
Even though he was high maintenance, Moss made New England a better football team. It's like complaining about the aunt who talks incessantly at Thanksgiving dinner. She drives you crazy, but she's still family, and bakes the best pumpkin pie.UPDATE: Mike Reiss says something similar to what I said yesterday:
Now that Moss is someone else's headache, you will hear that he had lost a step, that he hated going across the middle, that he was a lousy blocker. You might even hear the Patriots are better off without him.
That may be true in the locker room, but not on the field. The team's most explosive offensive weapon is gone. His departure severely cripples the offense, even if Brandon Tate and Taylor Price are ready for prime time. His immense presence was undeniable.
And yet, as prolific as Moss was in a Patriots uniform, he never won a championship here. He certainly did his part in 2007 with a record 23 touchdown receptions, each one more acrobatic than the next. It wasn't his fault that Asante Samuel couldn't hold onto a sure game-ending interception in the waning moments of Super Bowl XLIV, or that David Tyree secured himself as an eternal One Hit Wonder with a leaping catch to help win it for the New York Giants.
But that doesn't change the fact that Moss has never won a championship.
The hope entering the season was that a motivated Moss in the final season of his contract would produce just that, but it seemed as if the future uncertainty distracted him more than it motivated him, the defining moment coming during his rambling contract-related news conference following the season-opening win over the Bengals. Coupled with New England's revamped offense, which has spread the ball around more evenly and featured more multiple-tight end packages, it was a mix that had the potential to turn toxic. Belichick had to sense that, and with the team on its bye week and the trade deadline approaching Oct. 19, this was the window of opportunity to strike a deal. In the end, it appears Belichick assessed the risk of keeping Moss as greater than the potential reward.