SANTA CLARA – Randy Moss spoke to Bay Area reporters for the first time in person as 49er today. He came into the media tent after head coach Jim Harbaugh and answered questions about his conditioning, his first impression of his new team and his relationship with Alex Smith. Here’s the transcript, courtesy of the 49ers.
“Let’s go you all got a few questions, fire away.”
Jim Harbaugh talked about the first discussion he had with you before you signed, about the things he wanted to see from you and you also volunteered some things you wanted to do. Just talk about what that discussion was like and what kind of vibe you got from that.
“Well the discussion was really between coach and player. I think I have been around the block a few times to really understand what he wants from me. We have a young team here and me being a veteran, like I said, I have been around the block a few times. Just trying to bring something positive as far as my leadership on and off the field here and hopefully it’s been a good thing. So, just want to build from that.”
You have been here three months now, what do you know about this team now that you didn’t know coming in back in March?
“Well everything that I expect and everything that I watched last year from this team, there’s really no surprise. These guys here love to work, they love to compete and by me signing here, is just something that me being around a great group of guys who are young and enthusiastic makes me feel kind of young too. I’m just enjoying myself, beautiful weather, nice organization, a great owner. Just being at the Pasta Bowl last night, just everything that they stand for as far as giving back to the community and helping kids out. I think that’s been my motto my whole career. Giving back and just showing kids a better way of living and last night just raised me up, really as a person, just seeing how this organization functions their charity work.”
To what degree do you, at this point in your career, are you aware of how many milestones that you have the potential to reach and to what degree are you chasing your place in history at this point?
“No, I just love to play football. All that other stuff, I will leave up to you all. I have been playing football since I was six years old. The love that I have for the game of football is going to always be in me. I just want to play football and that’s really being here and coach Harbaugh and this organization accepting me and bringing me here was just, hopefully I can give something back in return and that’s with my play and my presence on and off the field.”
So the records that you have a chance of reaching, they don’t really mean much to you?
“I’m really not an individual. I have never really been an individual. Through the course of my career, I guess there are a few records that I have broken, but I’m not about breaking records. They come and go. I just love the game of football, love being in the locker room. I love being around the guys and being here is just like I said, these guys are young, they are very enthusiastic and I don’t really feel my age being around these guys. They love to have fun and coach Harbaugh is a player’s coach. He’s played the game before. I even watched coach Harbaugh growing up. When I first came into the league he was on his way out. So, just being able to be around these guys and coach Harbaugh, he came in fired up from day one yesterday. We like to have fun around here and like I said, I don’t feel my age, I love having fun and I feel pretty good.”
Jim [Harbaugh] said in March he had a great time going out and throwing the ball with you. He said he felt really good. What was he like throwing the ball and what kind of ball did he throw?
“It was actually funny because I just worked out for the New Orleans Saints and they brought, I think, Brian Brohm from Louisville in. So when I came here, I didn’t really know who was going to be throwing me the ball so [Wide Receivers] coach Johny Mo [Morton] and coach Harbaugh said we aren’t bringing anybody in, I’m throwing the ball. So it was kind of shocking to me just to see that the head coach can still wing the ball and he can still throw it. That was something that was impressive to me. Funny story, I was actually warming up when I got here and my first couple of routes I felt that I was into it loose and they said, ‘Ok Randy, now it’s time to run.’ I said, ‘It felt like I had been running.’ So, like I said, he can still wing the ball and coach Harbaugh just loves to have fun. He still loves the game, too. Being a player’s coach that he is, you can really see that he really loves the game.
Can you talk about your relationship with QB Alex Smith and how that’s developed over a short period?
“Well the one thing, by the addition of not just me but bringing [WR Mario] Manningham in, we got a nice group of receivers here. I think that with Alex being the quarterback, we all have to get our timing down to know what routes we can run, to know when we are open, so it’s a work in progress. Like I said, just being here, I look forward to going out and competing every day. I think I am accepting it as a challenge and like I said, I am just happy to be here. I feel pretty good physically and like I said, I can’t really put into words about the team and how young they are and the enthusiasm they show in the locker room, in the lunch room, in the meeting rooms on the field, in pre-practice, weight room even. So it’s just a feeling that I haven’t really felt in a while, just being around a group of young guys and it makes me feel good that I can really not look at my age, and just feel young. So I have a little pep in my step. It really feels good being around the guys.”
You have been on some dynamic offenses in New England and some teams that have won a lot. How does this offense compare and how ready is this team to replicate some of the teams you have been on?
“Well any football fan, anybody that knows football knows it’s a work in progress. I really just can’t come up and make a statement how good we are going to be because that’s really undetermined. I think just going out and getting better every day because I don’t really like living off the past, but it’s hard to forget about the past once you start having success. I see the expectations we have for one another, as a whole unit, offense, defense and special teams. We set our own bar high. The good thing about it, like I said, we come to work. Everybody is attentive, everybody’s taking notes, we’re asking questions. So, just seeing how everybody approaches being a professional athlete here, knowing that this is a young group, the sky is the limit. I don’t know how it’s going to happen, but I think with our preparation and going out day to day, working in the classroom, working in the weight room and then coming and putting our results on the field. I don’t really know to be honest with you, but like I said, we have our own expectations here. I think that as far as a whole unit, as far as a whole team, we don’t want to let each other down and that really shows. We are just going to come out here day to day, starting today. You know, coach Harbaugh always says that we want to be better tomorrow than we were today. I think that’s just things that we build on and my wide receivers coach Johny Mo [Morton], he’s a hell of a coach. He’s enthusiastic and he teaches the game the way it should be taught. That makes me feel good, as a receiver, that I have a coach that is teaching the game and coming out on the field, he teaches and coaches the game like it should be coached and taught. I don’t really know, like I said we are just going to prepare everyday and hopefully the results that you see on the field will be good results and we will just go from there.”
A lot of your teammates that have spoken have just raved about you, your interactions with them, how you’ve helped them. Is that part of your job, too? Teaching the game to not only the wide receivers, but to the defensive backs and other guys on the team?
“Well, when I first came into this league, it was more of I didn’t really understand really everything that goes on with the NFL. And now that I’m matured physically and mentally, my philosophy is I do not like what the NFL does for me, I want to know what I can do to make the NFL better. And if that’s coming out here teaching the young guys and showing my professionalism and being a leader on and off the field, that’s what I want to do because I think that if we get that type of mindset it’ll make it a better league. And the league has blessed me and my family and I’m very fortunate to be in a position that I’m in, but like I said, I like what I can do for the league, not what the league can do for me. Money comes and goes, but as far as trying to make this a better league, we’re having young players come in, just being able to teach the game and understand how to take care of your body, how to approach the game day to day, week to week. And the good thing is they took the two-a-day practices out, so I just think that’s something that’s going to have everybody fresher come later in the season. But, I look forward to the challenge, I really do.”
Do you have a sense of what your level of play will be? Is it from like you were three or four years ago? Where are you do you think physically?
“Well, I’ll let you judge that, but for right now I’m just going to come out here and just try to get better day to day. I don’t really worry about that. Like I said, I think that the coaching staff, the equipment managers and the trainers, and of course the guys in the locker room, we love to have fun. And I think that by me being 35 years of age, I don’t really feel 35. So, you’re asking me is my level of play going to be up or down, I don’t really know. I look forward to seeing what’s going to happen though.”
Did the offseason workouts that you did though, did it feel like you were shaking off rust or that you were like, surprisingly fresh by not playing last year?
“Well, the work that we all put ourselves through, I wasn’t the only one feeling like that. Coach Harbaugh put our team through a hell of an offseason. You can ask any of the guys, we worked this offseason. Nobody was on the sidelines, taking plays off, or taking days off. We all worked. And that’s the good thing that I like because I do enjoy the game of football. Like I said, I’ve been playing football since I was six years old. And the love that I have for the game, I just want to be able to let that show because I do love the game of football. And like I said, hopefully that we just get better each day. Just to see how we go out and from the running game to the passing game, with the receivers coming out working out with the quarterbacks and the tight ends trying to get our passing and our timing down. So, it’s a work in progress and like I said, I’m up for the challenge and we’re just going to see what happens day to day.”
You talked about giving back to the game and it not necessarily being about you, the money. Did being away from football for a year, I guess, give you more of an appreciation for it?
“No, because the reason I walked away from the game wasn’t really to do with the game. One thing that I have learned that people don’t like the truth, so I’ll just wait until my book comes out just to see why I did walk away from the game for a year. Like I said, I’m just here now. I’m thanking the 49ers organization for bringing me here and hopefully I’ll give them something back in return.”