“Straight gold, homey?”
Randy Moss has agreed to a one-year deal with the San Francisco 49ers following a workout with coach Jim Harbaugh — who threw passes to Moss after picking up the 35-year-old future Hall of Famer from the airport.
“I was very appreciative of him doing that,” said Moss, regarding Harbaugh’s chauffer service. “I mean, the head coach picking a guy up — think about that.”
Not only did Harbaugh shuttle Moss from the airport to the 49ers’ team facilities, the 15-year NFL veteran signal-caller-turned-coach showed that Captain Comeback has a few bullets left in his 48-year-old right arm, serving as Moss’ personal combine quarterback.
“We had a lot of fun,” said Moss. “It’s just a pleasure to be able to get back in the league, and really get back to what I want to do and that’s play football.”
The previously retired Moss sat out the 2011 season following a disastrous 2010 campaign in which he recorded a combined 28 catches for 393 yards and five TDs for the Patriots (4 games), Vikings (4) and Titans (8). Now, the greatest deep threat in history — a wideout who has amassed 954 catches for 14,858 yards and 153 TDs since exploding onto the scene in 1998 — is set to run a few more go-routes, after taking a year off.
“I’m not a free agent. I’m a guy straight off the couch, straight off the street,” said Moss. “They’ve done their homework on me or they wouldn’t have brought me in here.”
After posting a 13-3 regular season record and advancing to overtime of the NFC Championship Game before losing to the eventual Super Bowl XLVI champion Giants last year, San Francisco hopes Moss adds a vertical, over-the-top threat to the passing attack without bringing an over-the-top distraction into the locker room.
The 49ers are in a no-lose situation, however. Their one-year commitment is risk-free. If any problems arise, Harbaugh will slap Moss on the back like he’s Jim Schwartz and tell him to take a hike like he’s Braylon Edwards. But if everything works out as planned, a motivated Moss could be the missing piece in San Fran’s solid gold Super Bowl puzzle.
“I know this organization wants the Super Bowl,” said Moss. “With all the success they’ve had (in 2011), hopefully we can keep it going and give these 49ers fans something to keep screaming about.”
Moss gives the 49ers flexibility in the draft and free agency. With tight end Vernon Davis fresh off of a Jerry Rice effort in the playoffs — with 10 catches for 292 yards and four TDs in two games — and fourth-year wide receiver Michael Crabtree struggling to get downfield separation, Moss will give quarterback Alex Smith a legitimate deep target that (in theory) will open up the field and keep defenses from stacking the box to stop Pro Bowl running back Frank Gore. The 6’4”, 210-pound Moss also brings his springs, as a legendary leaper capable of dominating in the red zone and capitalizing on jump ball opportunities in the end zone — no matter how old he may be.
“I’ll hurry up and know what my role’s going to be and hopefully that’s catching touchdowns,” said Moss.
“I’m here to play some football. I know there’s a great core of guys here and they’re young. By me being 35 years old, hopefully they don’t buy a wheelchair, or no rocker or no old man stuff, because I’m still young. I feel it.”