Jerry Rice never played with Randy Moss but still took his perceived lack of work ethic personally.
The all-time receiving great was asked about the recently retired Moss Tuesday morning on ESPN Radio. PFT has the transcript:
"It was hard for me to swallow because I was not as talented and I had to work harder," Rice said. "To see a guy with that much talent not give it 100 percent, it was almost like a little slap in the face. But Randy was Randy." [...]
"He could have been one of the greatest if he had worked just a little bit harder. [...] I don't think he wanted to give it 100 percent. You never knew what you were going to get with Randy. Sometimes you'd get the unbelievable guy, the amazing guy. Other times you'd get the guy that took a couple plays off."
Rice's frustration is understandable. He had a talent that would have allowed him to become a fine NFL receiver. His work ethic and effort is what turned him into the greatest ever. To him, it's unfathomable that someone could not take full advantage of their athletic gifts.
This is why it's hard for some great athletes to take jobs as coaches or in front offices. Men who have failed in such roles -- Michael Jordan and Ted Williams immediately come to mind -- see young players squander talent or fail to harness it and can't relate to it. Rice sees a guy like Moss and knows that if he put in the effort on the practice fields, he could have rewritten the record books. He knows that if he himself had Moss' talent, the records he set would be even more untouchable.
The fact that Rice chose to make these "controversial" comments the day after he was hired by ESPN as an NFL analyst is merely coincidence, we're certain. Piling on Randy Moss has been done, Jerry. Take a page from your own book and work hard at this new job. Come up with some insightful commentary. Don't be a Randy and take the easy way out.
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