Moss is ready to play now, but will he be come September?

Should we be surpised that Brandon Jacobs believes Randy Moss is poised to make a strong return to the NFL? The short answer: No.

As I pointed out back in March (yes, I’m tooting my own horn), Moss is a model citizen during the summer months. I’m no Dr. House, but perhaps Moss has a Vitamin D deficiency, which is abated by long July and August days.

Anyway, it isn’t until the season starts that the duality of Moss’s character is shown. Jacobs comments only exemplify that sweet, perhaps cloying, side of Moss.

Moss and that darn shoulder-chip

“His motivation level is high,” Jacobs told Jim Rome. “I think Moss has a chip on his shoulder. I’ve spoken to him a lot, and he starts off everything with, ‘Just wait.’ He’s got a chip on his shoulder, he’s ready to go out there and show everybody that he can play still.”

Jacobs’s comments mirror those that have been uttered time and time again.

In 2005, Tim Dipieo, a close friend of Moss, told the, “(Moss is) going to be ready. Physically and mentally he’s going to be ready to go. He’s pumped up.”

It goes without saying Moss never appeared to be either mentally ready or pumped up while playing for the Raiders. But he at least he looked that way while practicing.

In 2010, Moss flamed out with both the Patriots and the Vikings, yet Moss’s agent Joe Segal maintained that Moss was still motivated. “Randy’s excited to get back playing football,” Segal told ESPN. “He’s ready to go and looking forward to get there.”

Prior to the 2011 season, Moss got in on the action, promising to play the 2011 at a “high-level.” “I want to play wherever they want me to play,” Moss said. “I’m a free agent. I know I’m 34. I know I didn’t have a great season last year. But I also know that these still work [holds up his hands] and I know I can still play at a high level.”

Moss leads the way to September

Certainly Moss has been doing more than just talking. As Harbaugh told Rich Gannon, Moss’s work ethic has matched his rhetoric. Gannon relayed his conversation with Harbaugh to Can Inman of the San Jose Mercury News:

“At the end of the meeting, Randy turned to Jim Harbaugh and said, ‘Coach, what do you want me to do, what can I do for you?’” Gannon said. “And Jim looked at him and said, ‘For starters I’d like you to sit in the front row of my meetings.’

“He said by doing that it’s brought guys like Crabtree, who’d hang out in the back, and some of these other young guys, now they’re sitting up front with Randy Moss,” he said. “They don’t have the hoodies on anymore. They’re alert. They’re paying attention. Randy’s taking notes. Every meeting that coach has had, Randy Moss has been sitting in the front row.”

If only this were new to Moss’s character, then perhaps there would be reason for optimism. Unfortunately, like Jacobs’s praise, Harbaugh’s proves to be little more than proof that history repeats.

In 2005, Raider quarterback Kerry Collins came to Moss’s defense after the receiver confessed to using marijuana.

“He was a leader on the field,” Collins said. “The younger players were looking up to him. To hear that he’s about to violate the drug policy is pretty disturbing. But we all make mistakes in life. I really can’t criticize the guy. Next month I’m going to grope a woman in an elevator.”

Following the 2007 season, Wes Welker discussed Moss’s contribution to the Patriots. “Randy’s a smart football player and a down-to-earth guy. He put the team first in every situation. He’s been great for our football team. He’s been a great friend and a mentor for me.”

In all, the narrative being put forth by the 49ers is the same narrative that has been put forth by countless other teams. Moss was wonderful in June. He’s been the picture of perfection in July. And, of course, he’ll display his talents with great alacrity in August. But what will happen when the season starts? What Randy will the team get then?

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