Saturday, November 6, 2010

...Randy Moss and Allen Iverson

What a couple of weeks it has been for Randy Moss. He was a couple of games into the NFL season when he was abrubtly traded from the New England Patriots to the Minnesota Vikings.

This was going to be Randy's fresh start - a second chance with the team that originally drafted him out of Marshall. He was going to be united with Vikings' legendary quarterback Brett Favre and help turn the Vikings' disappointing season around.

This past week, just four games into the experiment, Randy Moss was waived by Minnesota and claimed by the Tennessee Titans.

I'm sure you know the details so I'm not going to go into the entire story. I simply want to ask this question.

Will Randy Moss end up like Allen Iverson?

Allen Iverson is one of the NBA's best players over the last 14 seasons. But a career and a lasting legacy have been tarnished over the last couple of seasons.

After playing his first 10 seasons in Philadelphia, and once leading the 76ers to the NBA finals, a dispute led to the Sixers trading him in the middle of the 2006-07 season to the Denver Nuggets. He played the entire  2007-08 season in Denver, before making waves again which resulted in the Nuggets trading him to the Detroit Pistons.

His contract was up after a fairly solid season in Detroit. And it seemed like to no one's surprise but his, there wasn't a whole lot of interest in him on the free agent market. He had played the previous three seasons with three different teams and seemed to wear out his welcome in each city rather quickly. Questions always seemed to arise about his commitment to winning and accepting his role.

At the beginning of the 2009-10 season, Allen decided to sign a one year contract with the Memphis Grizzlies. The Grizzlies made it clear - at least in the media - that they were signing Allen as a role player to come off the bench. And Allen said he was fine with that. Until three games into the season.

After the first three games, the Grizzlies released the NBA veteran, saying Allen was unwilling to accept his role.

After several weeks off, he signed for the rest of the season with his first team, the 76ers.

In the summer of 2010, Allen was again looking for someone to give him an opportunity to play. He found one. In Turkey.

It seemed as though most NBA teams finally realized that no matter what Allen said, once the season started, if he was unhappy with his role, the direction of the team, or whatever was on his mind, Allen wasn't worth having around.

And while no longer in the prime of his career, the 35-year old Iverson isn't old by professional athletics standards. He still averaged almost 14 points per game for the 76ers last season. But that is a far cry from the 25+ points per game he averaged in ten of his career seasons.

Allen Iverson isn't the player he was five years ago. And because he didn't want to accept a role an NBA team offered, he finds himself playing professional basketball in Istanbul.

When the news of his signing broke a couple of weeks ago, there was talk that Iverson was disappointed and he would accept any role given to him. He said that in Memphis and that didn't work out too well.

What's the old saying? Fool me once, shame on you, but fool me twice and shame on me.

I don't think any NBA executives are going to be fooled a second time. Sorry Allen. You should have been more accepting of your role.

This brings me to my comparison of Iverson and Moss.

There were questions about Randy Moss coming out of college. He was in an incident in high school that led to Notre Dame rescinding a scholarship offer.

After he made it to the NFL - and a bunch of teams stayed away from him on draft day - he famously said that he only plays when he wants to.

After seven great years with Minnesota, he wore out his welcome and was traded to the Raiders.

After two seasons in Oakland, he wore out his welcome and found himself playing with Tom Brady and the Patriots.

After three 1,000 yard seasons in New England, he started his fourth off by complaining about his contract situation after the opening game of the 2010 season. After four games into the 2010 season, he wore out his welcome and was traded to the Vikings.

After four games with the Vikings in his return, he was waived and claimed by the Titans.

Is there a pattern developing?

In the off-season, Randy Moss will be looking for a new contract. Randy Moss better hope that the final half of the 2010 season goes well in Tennessee.

He should learn a lesson from Allen Iverson and realize that you don't have to be extended an offer to play. You are not entitled to an NFL contract. It isn't out of the realm of possibility that no team will want you.

It already happened to Allen Iverson and, if Randy Moss isn't careful, it just may happen to him.

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