After profoundly impacting the game for years, neither Randy Moss nor Terrell Owens played during the 2011 season. While Moss retired, Owens was unable to find work after suffering a serious knee injury. Now, both receivers want to get back in the game for the 2012 campaign. Owens has joined the Indoor Football League, hoping to convince NFL teams that he still has something left at age 38. Meanwhile, Moss took to Ustream.tv on Monday -- his 35th birthday -- to announce his intention to return: "I just wanna go to a team and play some football."
So, this begs an obvious question ...
Which former All-Pro receiver -- if either -- is more likely to play in the NFL again: Moss or Owens?
- Jason La Canfora NFL Network
Moss will get an opportunity ... as long as his contract demands aren't crazy
Moss has a much better shot, by far. He could have had work last year, as many teams came calling, but he chose to be very selective and wanted to hit a home run.
No one truly inquired about T.O. (save some preliminary quasi-interest from the Titans). Owens didn't look right during his workout, and at his age, coming back from that knee injury is extra tricky.
Moss was in great shape, and as long as his contract demands aren't crazy, he will have a chance to show what he has left.
- Adam Rank NFL.com
With a glut of receivers available in free agency, why take a flier on either aging has-been?
Having Terrell Owens and Randy Moss back in the NFL seems unlikely in 2012, but thankfully there are still teams like the Jets out there who can make an enigmatic receiver's dream come true. Honestly, Moss could easily replicate Plaxico Burress' role of doing nothing between the 20s, then serving as a viable red-zone option for Mark Sanchez. Or maybe the Dolphins, so determined to make a splash, pull the trigger to bring in Peyton Manning and Moss in a desperate attempt to relive the year 2000.
Even those scenarios seem far-fetched. There is a glut of receivers available in free agency, and I can't even fathom Bill Belichick giving a guy like Moss another chance. Both of these players have burned enough bridges and have seen their skills diminish to the point where they aren't even worth taking a flier.
- Bucky Brooks NFL.com
In the right situation, Moss still offers significant value
Randy Moss has a better chance of playing again in the NFL. He is still a viable deep threat and his ability to stretch the field is certainly an asset for teams looking to create space for other receivers. Plus, he has been healthy for the majority of his career and has a high football IQ that will allow him to easily assimilate into any system.
Although he certainly has been a disruptive presence in a few locker rooms, he could provide a spark to a playoff contender in the right situation with a coach that commands respect from his players.
- Jason Smith NFL.com
Neither Moss nor Owens will be signed by anyone
This is pretty simple: No one is going to sign either of them. Anyone could have had Moss during the 2010 season and only the Titans put in a claim for him. Then he went Hollow Man on them. So now, another year older, he's going to be someone's answer? Forget it. Moss was great, but he had baggage. It was passable until he started to alternately care how he did on the field. And now he can't produce anymore. No one's even going to give him a second thought.
T.O. is a little trickier. The guy can still play, but the enormity of everything else that comes along with him is too daunting. It's one thing to see your wife's hot best friend come for a visit, but when she steps off the plane with a yappy lap dog and eleven pieces of luggage and tells you about her strict acai berry-only diet, it sort of takes the wind out of your sails. If I thought T.O. could be happy as my third receiver, I'd think about it, but I know he can't because of his pride. So he's done.
This is where both players will sit back and think the following: Doing it my way for my entire career has been awesome, but it cost me two or three more years I could have kept playing at the end.
- Steve Wyche NFL.com
Owens carries more baggage than Moss
Definitely Randy Moss. Terrell Owens is 38 and coming off knee surgery. Also, financial issues are driving his motivation, which is always scary for teams concerned about players competing for incentives rather than the overall team concept. We don't really know Moss' motivation and he is 35, but if he still has the ability to get deep, he could add something.
Both will be impacted by prior poisoning of locker room chemistry, but teams seem to hold that more against Owens than Moss, mainly because Moss doesn't seek attention the way Owens does. Although Owens displayed better behavior his last few seasons, teams know the potential for disruption is there, which is why they've stayed away.
- Charley Casserly NFL.com
Both players had issues in their final NFL season
Both players had a lot of issues during their last year in the NFL. Despite his production with Cincinnati, Owens still displayed his selfish attitude in the locker room. Moss' best asset was his speed, which seemed to disappear once he got to Tennessee. Neither of these receivers are classic, precision route-runners who know how to beat you without speed.
I don't think either one will get a job. Forced to pick one, though, I'll take Moss. Owens tried hard to get a job last year and failed. That says a lot.
- Elliot Harrison NFL.com
Moss is more enticing than Owens on many levels
Randy Moss is the more likely former All-Pro wideout to get another opportunity. Moss just turned 35, Owens is already 38. Moss isn't coming off major knee surgery the way Owens was this past year. Moss should still be faster, as well. Does that mean he'll get a chance for sure? No. But the more he's willing to humble himself, the better his prospects.
Keep in mind there are some big-play free agents out on the market right now, which will make it tougher. That said, Moss is a rare talent even if he only has 80 percent of that left. As my colleague Steve Wyche wrote today, it sure would help if he had some kind of Pro Day to showcase how much speed he still has.