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Belichick expresses strong support for Moss

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- New England Patriots coach Bill Belichick expressed strong support Thursday for wide receiver Randy Moss, the subject of a temporary restraining order obtained by a longtime friend.

Belichick said he wasn't concerned about the allegation brought by Rachelle Washington that Moss committed battery or about how it might affect Moss on Sunday in the AFC championship game against the San Diego Chargers.

Washington's attorney issued a statement Thursday saying that Moss' representatives were the first to suggest that Moss pay the woman to keep the issue quiet, according to The attorney, David McGill, and Moss' agent, Tim DiPiero, did not returns telephone calls from The Associated Press.

On Wednesday, Moss said that suggestion came from her side and totaled "six figures." He called it "a situation of extortion."

No criminal charge has been brought.

Belichick spoke briefly on questions about the matter Thursday.

"I think Randy's covered those and I've talked to Randy about it, and I support Randy 100 percent," he said.

Moss spent about 10 minutes in front of his locker on Wednesday vehemently denying the allegations.

On Monday, the temporary restraining order was issued in Broward County, Fla., ordering Moss to stay at least 500 feet from the home of Washington, who alleged he committed "battery ... causing serious injury" to her at her home in Fort Lauderdale on Jan. 6, the Sunday of the Patriots playoff bye week.

A hearing on issuing a permanent restraining order is scheduled for 3 p.m. Jan. 28, six days before the Super Bowl.

Moss said the woman has been a friend of his for 11 years and that she asked for "six figures" for what he said was an accident in which she was hurt. Washington, 35, alleged they had been in an "intimate relationship" since 1997.

Her attorney's statement said she "has cared deeply for Mr. Moss and has been there for him throughout all of his trials and tribulations" over the past 11 years and didn't intend to hurt Moss.

"However, she has suffered mental and physical harm as a result of his actions," the statement said. "She simply wants him to take responsibility for what he has done. As a battery victim, she has shown great strength throughout this entire ordeal.

"Ms. Washington has been unfairly characterized as someone simply seeking financial gain. In fact, it was Mr. Moss' representatives who first contacted our office to offer a `six figure' settlement with hopes of not having this incident become public record."

Washington also alleged that Moss refused to allow her to seek medical treatment. Moss denied that. McGill's statement did not specify an injury.

"He has acknowledged that he was at Ms. Washington's Florida residence and that he was 'guilty' of an 'accident' which occurred," the statement said. "However, Mr. Moss fails to mention how his reckless and degrading conduct rendered Ms. Washington unable to drive her vehicle to seek medical attention."

Several teammates have expressed support for Moss.

"When there's an attack on someone in the family," tight end Kyle Brady said, "there's a sense of loyalty that kicks in."

Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press

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