Stop me if you’ve heard this before: A star wide receiver heads to the Raiders midway through his career, but eventually wants out of Oakland. The Patriots then swoop in to rescue the player and give him a fresh start in New England, and the rest is history.
Of course, if you’ve been following the NFL this offseason, that sounds like the situation surrounding Antonio Brown after he forced his way out of the West Coast en route to a spot on the Patriots roster.
But, many Patriots fans will know that story as the one of Hall of Famer Randy Moss, who landed with the Patriots before the 2007 season, which turned into a record-breaking year for both Moss and Patriots quarterback Tom Brady.
Despite the similarities in Brown and Moss’s respective situations, all the way down to the television coverage surrounding the two blockbuster moves, Moss and former Patriots linebacker Tedy Bruschi aren’t big fans of the comparisons.
“Why are they throwing your name around, Randy?” Bruschi asked during ESPN’s Sunday NFL Countdown.
“I said it three weeks ago, on this show, I knew that Antonio Brown did not want to be a Raider,” Moss said. “Reason why? Because nothing had to do with football, it was all the off-the-field antics. But where do we go from here?”
Moss ran through the logistics of Brown’s situation, talking about how the former Steelers and Raiders wide receiver lost $30 million in guarantees by getting fined for detrimental conduct by the Raiders, and then picked half of the money back up in his new deal with the Patriots
“I thought it was always about the money,” Moss said. “I didn’t think it had to do with football. But since you’re with the defending Super Bowl champs, the greatest of all time as in head coach and quarterback, are you ready to play some football? And that’s the only question I have for him because every time in the last month or two Antonio Brown has showed up on your phone or any server, it has nothing to do with football.”
“The next time I see Antonio Brown showing up on my phone, gotta be touchdowns. That’s all I want to hear from here on out. Football, football, football.”
While Moss looked ahead at Brown’s future with the Patriots, Bruschi focused on the past and present when it comes to Tom Brady’s newest offensive weapon. The biggest thing? Bruschi was done with all of the seemingly similar elements of Moss and Brown’s stories.
“I want to stop right now, stop all the Randy Moss comparisons, okay?” Bruschi said. “Because it’s different. I played with [Moss] when he came in, we had conversations when he came in, and it was all about winning football games, that’s what it was about. That’s what Randy wanted to experience, we experienced that. We didn’t finish the job in the Super Bowl, we didn’t get it done, but still, it was about winning football games.”
“Antonio Brown is different,” Bruschi continued. “Based on all of his activity in the last year, it’s all about himself. It’s selfish, that’s the opinion I have of his behavior up until this point. He basically, by being signed by the Patriots, everything is important there. Walkthroughs, meetings, practices, meetings after practice, everything is important. Saturday walkthrough, you gotta be there, you gotta be present.”
Some have questioned whether Brown can succeed in a Bill Belichick-led environment. Filming postgame speeches after a big win? That won’t fly in the Patriots locker room. Complaining about a helmet? Even Brady adapted as the equipment rules changed. Any focus on your own play and not the team’s success? You’re done in Belichick’s eyes.
“He has to change,” Bruschi said. “Is that possible? Can he change and be someone that can be reliable on a team that needs him?”