Today, 2 high-profile NFL players were picked up on waivers. Randy Moss and Shawne Merriman were picked up by the Tennessee Titans and the Buffalo Bills, respectively. Moss will now join his third NFL team in a month, and Merriman will escape the bright lights and many temptations of San Diego to join a winless Buffalo Bills team.
The road these two players have taken is an interesting one. Both were once superstars in the NFL, and both recently have let their words and actions off the field drive their release from their respective teams this week. Merriman was a short-term NFL superstar; he was voted to 3 Pro-Bowls in 5 years, and he has played only 3 full seasons healthy. Moss has been a defining wide receiver in NFL history. A lock for the Hall of Fame, Randy Moss trails only Jerry Rice in touchdown receptions (153 to Rice’s 197). Randy Moss is arguably the best deep-threat receiver in the history of football.
If only the stories ended at the talent of these players. Both players have had their careers impacts by their off the field actions. Merriman has been a Hollywood regular, as he has made appearances on television shows, namely, “Entourage,” has made appearances in music videos, and has let the Southern California lifestyle affect his football far more than the San Diego organization would have liked. In addition, Merriman made the stubborn decision to forgo necessary surgery for 2 torn ligaments on his knee in the 2008 offseason so he could try to play “all 16 games.” He then found after only 1 game that he could not play on 2 torn ligaments, and the subsequent poorly timed surgery ended his season.
Moss has been more outspoken and has caused more controversy than Merriman throughout his career. Moss has left games early (2004 regular season finale against Washington), pretended to moon the Green Bay fans in a 2005 playoff game, hit a police officer with his car and had marijuana in the car at the time (2002), and minimized the impact of the Marshall plane crash during his time at the university. In addition, Moss is renowned for quitting on offensive plays and quitting on his routes. Moss is one of the most talented and controversial players in the history of football.
With all the similarities of these players, they now enter completely different situations. Moss moves from a team in utter chaos to a team with a legitimate chance to win the extremely competitive AFC South. Merriman, on the other hand, moves from a team that, while struggling, still has a chance at the division title in the weak AFC West, to the worst team in the NFL right now, the Buffalo Bills. Both players’ contracts are up after this year; however, and will need to perform well in the last 8 weeks of the season to prove their worth once again to the rest of the NFL after allowing outside factors to compromise their former superstar status.