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Athlete Randy Moss, one of the greatest wide receivers in National Football League history, was born February 13, 1977, in Rand, Kanawha County. At DuPont High School, he won all-state honors for football, was chosen West Virginia high school player of the year (1995), and twice was named state basketball player of the year.

Charges following a racially mixed fight in high school cost Moss a football scholarship to Notre Dame. A probation violation cost him a scholarship to Florida State University. He then played football for two seasons at Marshall University (1996–97), where he set virtually every school and conference season record and was a first-team All-American both years. He also joined the university’s track team one week before the Southern Conference championship and set school records in the four races in which he competed.

In 1997, The Sporting News named Moss college football’s top receiver, Street & Smith called him ‘‘the number one reason to watch college football,’’ and USA Today and Sports Illustrated named him best college receiver. In 1998, the Minnesota Vikings picked him in the first round of the National Football League draft. Nearly a dozen sports publications and organizations named him rookie of the year. Setting numerous receiving records during his first three seasons, he earned Pro Bowl appearances all three years, twice earning Most Valuable Player titles in those games. In 1998 and 2000, Moss led the NFL in touchdown catches. In 2000, he signed a $75 million contract extension with a record-setting $18 million signing bonus, making him the highest-paid non-quarterback in the NFL.

Moss moved to the Oakland Raiders in 2005 and to the New England Patriots in 2007 where he caught a career-high 23 touchdown passes in his first season, still a single-season NFL record. In 2010, he returned to the Minnesota Vikings but was released after only four games. He then played for the Tennessee Titans. In the summer of 2011, he received offers from several NFL teams but chose to retire instead. In 2012, on his 35th birthday, Moss announced he was returning to the game. Moss, a free agent, played one season for the San Francisco 49ers.

Although he was dogged with controversy throughout his playing career, Moss racked up a strong record on the field. He compiled 982 receptions for 15,292 yards and 156 touchdowns. At the time of his retirement, he was third all-time in career receiving yards and fourth in receiving touchdowns. After his retirement, Moss joined ESPN as an analyst and appeared on Sunday NFL Countdown and Monday Night Countdown. He continues to work the Sunday show but stepped down from the Monday program in 2022.

Moss has remained loyal to his home state, returning to support schools and other charitable causes. He has other business interests, as well. From 2009 to 2012, Moss, a fan of NASCAR, co-owned Randy Moss Motorsports, a racing team in the Craftsman Truck Series.

On August 4, 2018, Moss was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame, joining Frank “Gunner” Gatski as the only Marshall players to be so honored. He was inducted into the West Virginia Sports Hall of Fame on May 5, 2019. In December 2019 Moss was the first wide receiver named to the NFL 100 All-Time Team. On January 7, 2024, his election into the College Football Hall of Fame was announced.

This Article was written by Sandy Wells

Last Revised on January 08, 2024

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Cite This Article

Wells, Sandy "Randy Moss." e-WV: The West Virginia Encyclopedia. 08 January 2024. Web. 02 March 2024.

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