Santana Moss’ Rookie Season

Imagine being drafted round 1, 16th overall in the NFL having a NCAA division I reputation of being an offensive and special teams speed burner. The Miami Hurricanes football program has produced numerous top tier talent going to the professional ranks and in 2001 the New York Jets were licking their chops when they drafted Santana Moss.

Hailing from Northwest Miami, Florida, Santana went to Miami Carol City High School when here was a standout in track and field, and played football. He initially entered the University of Miami on a and track and field scholarship, not football. The U’s coaching staff saw his potential: he made the football squad as a walk-on and by the third game into the season, Santana was awarded a football scholarship.

All the athletic accolades that he received while in Miami, both high school and in college ensured that the confidence that he had in his athletic skills were second nature. At punt returning alone, he produced as much excitement as Devin Hester and Phillip Buchanon to name a few. Of his many accomplishments at The U, he went on to break the receiving record held by Michael Irvin. Not to many players can say that!

MossthaU

Santana’ rookie season in New York was not as glamorous as his college days. I Still say that the NFL did not see the real Santana Moss. In 2001 he made his NFL debut at the 10th game due to injuries. Out of playing in the NFL for 14 years, he had only four 1000 plus yards receiving seasons. Out of his first four years with the Jets, his first thousand yard season was in his third year there. This might sound as being hard on Santana, but with the talent he showed while The U, you’d expect stellar statistics, not documentation of a second receiver. Santana was drafted by the Jets to replace Keyshawn Johnson as a deep threat complementing  Laveranues Coles and Wayne Chrebet. When a guy gets injured, the mind goes into overdrive. Confidence is tainted, the mere fact that what was once there is gone. Now one has to start just above scratch to get back to being a normal guy, let alone first class.

You might as well say that his rookie season drifted into his sophomore season. Granted, he played in 15 games, but started only one with four touchdowns and four-hundred thirty-three yards receiving for the whole season. Not first class. Not Santana Moss.

The mental strain due to these “grown man” injuries had to have taken a negative toll on him both physically and mentally. He had to come to grips within himself and realize that “this is the NFL”, that you can’t call in sick.

moss2thaU

That “I can’t give up” attitude carried him over to the Washington Redskins. His first year there (2005), he was first class again with over one-thousand yards receiving. Mentally, that must have felt awesome knowing that his abilities were in check, yet, one has to ponder saying “what if?”. All NFL Players get hurt, play hurt, stay hurt. I get that. When a speedster tears a cartilage, have multiple hamstring injuries, Oh! You’ll come back, desire is a beautiful thing. But now, the speed is slower. He had to play smarter with what speed he had left.

…and that he did. Santana Moss, over a 14 year career in the NFL scored 66 touchdowns, with 10.283 receiving yards, 732 receptions all out of 197 games. He was a force to be reckoned with. His perseverance is a testament to his character. He is my #1 Cane.

Tha U…

 

H.Pelham www.myegosports.com

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