The last time we saw Randy Moss in an NFL game was Jan. 2, 2011. Wearing a Tennessee Titans uniform, the third different one he wore that season, Moss caught an 18-yard pass from the now-retired Kerry Collins in a 23-20 loss to the Indianapolis Colts.
After burning an NFL bridge with the New England Patriots, and re-burning a bridge with the Minnesota Vikings, Moss spent the 2011 season out of football before announcing his intention to return to the league on UStream (where else?) in February. Moss had a couple of workouts, including one with the New Orleans Saints, before signing a one-year contract with the San Francisco 49ers that could be worth up to $4 million, but contains zero guaranteed money.
Moss reportedly looked like his old self during the offseason workouts, which could be the result of a chip residing on the future Hall of Famer's shoulders.
"His motivation level is high," San Francisco 49ers running back Brandon Jacobs said on CBS Sports Network's "Rome" (via Michael David Smith of Pro Football Talk). "I think Moss has a chip on his shoulder. Iâve spoken to him a lot, and he starts off everything with, 'Just wait.' He's got a chip on his shoulder, he's ready to go out there and show everybody that he can play still."
Moss giving up on a season, which he did in 2010, is nothing new. He did the same to the 2006 Oakland Raiders and (voila!) was a record-setting All-Pro the following season with the Patriots. That was five seasons ago, however, when Moss was 30-years-old and playing with Tom Brady. Moss is now 35 and playing with Alex Smith in an offense that doesn't throw the ball downfield with a great deal of regularity.
We'll have to wait and see if Moss' motivation level remains high when he's being used a decoy for Michael Crabtree and Vernon Davis, but our guess is after running mostly clearing routes, the chip on Moss' shoulder will soon become a pain in Jim Harbaugh's neck.