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Moss returning? If so, Belichick is genius

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Recent posts by Eric Edholm

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Posted Nov. 01, 2010 @ 4:11 p.m. ET
By Eric Edholm

I've never been much of a conspiracy theorist. It's not my style.

But how can you not see what is happening with Randy Moss and think two things?

Bill Belichick. Pure genius.

The word is thrown around more in football circles than it ever should be.

Belichick doesn't split the atom, after all.

But I am going to throw out an insane theory about how Belichick planned this thing all along.

He was willing to part with Moss.

He knew Moss could go somewhere and realize that the grass is greener where he came from.

Belichick got a third-round pick in the 2011 draft for Moss, and now it looks like it was complete thievery that the Patriots got that.

But they could get more: as in Moss himself.

Sure, it's a stretch. Several other teams, in fact all of them, currently sit in front of the one-loss Patriots with a chance to get Moss. Now that the trading deadline has passed, Moss will have to go through the waiver process once he is officially released, and any of 30 other clubs could claim the man and his considerable baggage.

But who would? A desperate team such as the Cowboys? Too late. An unhealthy one such as the Colts? Doubtful they'd want to rock the boat.

The more you look down the list of clubs that have (a) a strong-minded and secure coach, (b) a quarterback with similar qualities, (c) the guts to pull off such a move and (d) an owner who would sign off on such a move, you arrive at a short, short list.

I came up with one. Meet the new boss, same as the old boss.

If so, it would be the ultimate masterstroke by Belichick. It would make those old Red Auerbach deals where he fleeced other teams for years look almost limp in comparison.

So what bigger stab-you-in-the-eye move would there be than for the Patriots to give up Moss for four games, receive a third-rounder and get Moss in return? None, I tell you. None.

Will it happen? It's still probably unlikely. But boy, would it be fun.

What's not fun right now is the Vikings' locker room. If you're Brad Childress, you have to feel desperate. You told your team you cut the receiver you pinned your hopes on. You have been beaten up over how to handle Brett Favre and dancing with the devil all season — really for three years now. Word of dissent in Minnesota has coursed its way through various circles. It's obvious that Childress has few supporters, and that small group might not even include the Wilf family that gave the coach a contract extension a year ago.

If you're a Vikings player, how do you feel? What do you think? Childress buried Favre a week ago on the podium and then he cut Moss for, what, making a few backhanded comments and not running out a few plays? Whatever happened to benching a guy? You could be cut by the Vikings for having a thought that went against the coach. Now you know. That can't be a fun environment in which to show up for work every day.

As for Moss and whether he'd go along with such a subversive scheme to get himself cut by his new team, it's (admittedly) highly unlikely and, yeah, far-fetched. He'd be costing himself millions in terms of his next contract and would endure big hits in the court of public opinion.

But maybe Belichick knows Moss better than Moss does. The three-time Super Bowl-winning head coach clearly was ready to move on from Moss with the trade, comfortable with his team after the fact. But somewhere, deep in the dark corners of his mind, did he think it was possible this scenario could play out? That if he could corral Moss and sell out to covering him two-on-one all game long, inciting frustration then apathy in his former player, Moss would just give up? It's something Belichick watched play out more than once in New England, and Belichick had to know it could happen with the unique opportunity of facing Moss four weeks after trading him.

Give Belichick this: He's willing to stick his head in the lions' den and tempt fate. He released Bernie Kosar years ago, making him the devil incarnate in Cleveland. He traded Drew Bledsoe in the division. He allowed Lawyer Milloy, a beloved figure, to sign with the rival Bills mere days before the Patriots played them.

The common thread in all those deals? He took his punches in the short term to gain a long-term advantage. It's in Belichick's DNA code as a football evaluator.

And it even existed as a slim-but-unlikely possibility in his mind, the idea that he could get something for Moss and somehow get him back, I give the man all the credit in the world. He has earned that genius title.

Of course, I am assuming a lot here. But it's fun to think about, isn't it?

Related stories:
Vikings release Randy Moss

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