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Mark Craig: 'A First-Ballot Guy'

Posted Sep 6, 2017

Randy Moss was oftentimes the fastest player on the football field, one who could out jump anyone and also make a one-handed catch with his fingertips.

In the locker room, however, he had a complex relationship with reporters and the media who documented his career in Purple.

Veteran football scribe Mark Craig began covering the Vikings for the Star-Tribune in 2003. Moss had already been in the NFL for five seasons by then, but Craig said the wide receiver was as unique of a player he’s ever covered.

“He was very interesting as a person, and his football IQ was second-to-none as far as players I’ve covered,” Craig said. “He gets a knock for not always trying, but I think Randy’s intelligence on the field … he was such a smart player.

“He wasn’t the most media-friendly guy in the world,” Craig added. “But there were some instances where he was good with us. And when Randy talked, you had to be there to listen because he was not afraid to say anything. He would be honest and smart, very football smart.”

Moss had a handful of moments over his NFL that rubbed reporters the wrong way.

But there was no denying his talent level.

The lowest Moss ranks in one of the three major statistical categories among wide receivers is in catches, where he is 15th in league history with 982.

Moss is second all-time in receiving touchdowns with 156 and is third with 15,292 career receiving yards.

Add it all up, and Moss certainly has the résumé of a player who could one day be inducted in the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio.

Moss is eligible for enshrinement beginning in 2018. A panel of 48 members will meet and discuss whether Moss will join 25 other wide receivers in achieving football’s greatest individual honor.

Craig is a Hall of Fame voter and said wide receivers have historically had to wait a bit and have not been elected to the Hall of Fame on the first try.

It was the case for Terrell Owens (1,078 receptions, 15,934 yards and 153 touchdowns) in 2017, but that may not be the case for Randy Moss. 

“There are going to be some people that want to know what his effort level was at certain times,” Craig said. “I think that’s going to come up, and that’s kind of the bed that Randy made.

“But I also think that his skill and greatness overcomes that,” Craig added. “I think he’s a first-ballot guy.”