Maiocco on Moss: Only thing he's missing is a Super Bowl ring
"I don't live on numbers. I live on impact and what you're able to do on that field." (USA TODAY IMAGES)
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NEW ORLEANS -- Teammates and coaches have lauded Randy Moss since his arrival in Santa Clara for the 49ers' offseason program in the spring.
But one of the greatest receivers in NFL history had an admission to make as he gets set for his second career Super Bowl appearance: He is not exactly fond of how he has been used in the 49ers' offense.
That should come as little surprise. After all, Moss caught just 33 passes -- 28 in the regular season and five in the playoffs -- in 18 games in his first season with the 49ers. In Moss' prime, that kind of production was a decent month's work.
"I don't like my role," Moss said Tuesday, speaking publicly for the first time in seven weeks during the 49ers' "Media Day" at the Superdome. "I don't. I like to be out there playing football."
Recently, 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh said he wants Moss to return to the 49ers next season. Moss, who turns 36 on Feb. 13, said he intends to try to play at least one more NFL season.
"I've thought about it," he said. "I do want to play another year."
Moss declined to say whether he would play next season for the 49ers.
Moss signed a one-year contract with the 49ers on March 13 that paid him $2.5 million. The 49ers got their money's worth -- not because of his contribution to the 49ers' passing game but because of the impact he made with his teammates.
"He plays a big role," 49ers receiver Michael Crabtree said. "You are talking about Randy Moss. He is a legendary wide receiver. His voice alone gets you hyped. Him being around just brings the best out of us.
"It's every day. It's in the locker room and on the field. I could honestly see Randy Moss standing on the stage like Charles Barkley or one of those guys that just speaks their mind because his personality is amazing."
On Tuesday, Moss spoke his mind about his own place in NFL history, offering his opinion that he is "the greatest receiver to ever play the game." Former 49ers receiver Jerry Rice, who holds every significant receiving record, is universally regarded as the best wide receiver of all-time.
Said Moss, "I don't think numbers stand. This year has been a down year for me statistically. The year before was a down year and in Oakland it was a down year. I don't live on numbers. I live on impact and what you're able to do on that field."
Moss admitted that if he had prepared early in his career like does now, he could've been even better.
"It feels weird now that my focus on whatever plays I'm on the field wasn't like that earlier in my career," he said. "I think my preparation and my focus, if I'd put that much effort back in the day, it might've been different."
Moss was not even a starter when the season opened. He saw the fourth-most action of the 49ers wide receivers. He only became a starter after season-ending injuries to Mario Manningham and Kyle Williams.
Moss caught a season-high four passes in the 49ers' season-opener against the Green Bay Packers. He was held without a reception twice, and caught just one pass on five other occasions.
The 14-year pro matched his career-low with 28 catches for 434 yards and three touchdowns. His previous low-output season came in 2010, when he caught a combined 28 passes for 393 yards and five touchdowns while playing for three different teams.
He stepped away from the game after that season to spend more time with his family. Upon his return to the NFL, he has become a valued member of the 49ers family as a veteran who might be the most popular player in the locker room.
[REWIND: Hometown -- Randy Moss]
Moss has yet to win a Super Bowl ring. In 2007, he set an NFL record with 23 touchdown receptions. The New England Patriots' perfected season came to and end with a loss to the New York Giants in the Super Bowl.
And while Moss certainly does not like his role as a player who was on the field just 40.4 percent of the 49ers' offensive snaps, he accepts his auxiliary role with the hope that it'll end with his first NFL championship.
"I understand that my presence out on the field, I don't always have to touch the ball to be able to help the offense score touchdowns," Moss said. "I don't really like that, but it's something that I'm used to.
"I have to grow to understand and grow to like it. I've always been a team player. I've never been about self. Anything that is going to push our team to victory and hopefully win a Super Bowl, I'm willing to do."
Moss did not play last season, he said, due to family reasons. And he did not return to the game for the sole purpose of winning a Super Bowl, rather his passion for the sport.
"I think the reason I came back was I really wasn't ready to leave the game," he said, "just going through some family problems with my kids and trying to put them on the same page because football takes a lot of our time up."
Moss said he spoke to his daughter, Sydney, upon deciding he wanted to return to the NFL. She is a 5-foot-11 freshman basketball player at the Florida, where she averages 10.3 points and 6.4 rebounds a game.
"I had to explain to her that if I come back to this game, you're not going to see me as much -- she didn't earlier in her life," Moss said.
"Dad, if you come back to the game, I want you to win a Super Bowl because I'm going to the University of Florida to win a national championship," Sydney told her dad.
Said Moss, "That really made me smile because I've never heard my daughter talk like that. For her to be able to tell me that face-to-face, well, I'm on the verge of trying to win my first Super Bowl. Hopefully, we'll get it, and the next thing is to see her get her NCAA championship."