THINKING about what might be the Super Bowl swan song of the amazing, confounding Randy Moss, I wandered down memory lane.
Memory lane was my home's crawl space — past the artificial Christmas tree, the wrapping paper and the junked computer to a dusty old box of books and magazines.
I pulled out an ESPN magazine from 1998. Looking at me was a young man, arms crossed, lips puckered and greasepaint smeared under the eyes like war paint.
The headline: "19 teams passed on Randy Moss and he's gonna make 'em all pay."
The story focused on the chip on the rookie's shoulder. Sliding way down the draft after stomping a classmate at DuPont High, the testing positive for pot at Florida State and the racing through incredible two seasons at Marshall, Moss was taking out his frustrations on the NFL.
Making a professional splash with the Minnesota Vikings, he was mouthing off at his teammates, saying he was going to take them deep in practice.
"Yo, what's up with this guy?" nose tackle Jerry Ball, a 12-year veteran asked. "Can he even play?
"Listen here, son. I'd rather see a sermon than hear one. I'd rather you walk with me than just show me the way. The eyes are a better pupil, more willing than the ear. In other words, I see you talkin' something. But I don't see you doin' nothin'."
Here's what ESPN concluded: "Now Moss was the pup — jammed at the line, word-slapped over the middle, silenced into limping away with his tail squarely between his legs."
Except Moss had the last word, calling out to Ball. "Yo, dawg, I'm going to show you too."
He did. He streaked down the field, he leaped over defenders and he sucked in footballs like nothing could escape the gravity of his big, gloved mitts.
His moods, like his talent, could be mercurial.
On the field, he usually ran straight ahead, surging past defenders.
But his mind curved and hooked — from kind to crass, from enthusiasm to gloom, from delightful to dour.
Unbelievable athletic feats became commonplace until 2010, when he griped about his contract with New England. He was traded back to Minnesota and washed out there after complaining about the lunch caterer.
He finally finished up with the Tennessee Titans, where nothing titanic at all happened.
Yo dawg. It seemed like that was it.
Out with a peep.