Randy Moss didn't seem to ever slow down during his football career, but he's taking some time to pause and reflect now.
Almost three months have passed since Moss was left speechless after a surprise announcement that he would be inducted into the Vikings Ring of Honor. The former receiver said he's been waiting in anticipation since that day.
"I think that, from the time of being told the news until now is just more of counting down the days and continuing to reflect back on games … and coaches, and just embracing the moment," Moss said. "[When] I played, everything was just coming so fast and at such a rapid pace, that I never really did have time to sit back and look at a highlight or look at a game or anything like that. Each week, I had to continue to keep moving on, moving on, moving on.
"Now that I'm retired and I have time to sit back and reflect and look at all my accomplishments – individual, and then as a team – it's a great feeling to have," Moss continued. "I'm just embracing the moment all the way up to Monday night."
Moss will experience the Vikings season opener from various perspectives. In addition to the halftime ceremony in which he will be inducted into the Ring of Honor, Moss also is part of the ESPN crew covering the contest and will be part of the *Monday Night Football *pregame coverage.
Moss pointed out that he will be just one part of an evening sure to be exciting for Vikings fans on many levels.
"[Adrian Peterson] is coming back; I'm going into the Ring of honor; it is a *Monday Night *game," Moss said. "I just think it's a big night for the state of Minnesota, man."
When asked if there are specific plays from his 14-season career that he likes to mentally replay, Moss chuckled.
"I go on the Internet, YouTube, just like anybody else and just start searching 'Randy Moss highlights,' " he said. "I think a lot of the great memories that I had [were of] being in that Metrodome."
The receiver mentioned the 2003 game against Denver, during which he pitched a no-look lateral pass over his shoulder to running back Moe Williams, who jogged into the end zone as time expired in the first half.
When Moss re-watches that play, he sees a 6-year-old version of himself tossing a football up into the air and then catching his own "pass." Even several years after hanging up his cleats, Moss feels that childhood spark around the gridiron. He recalled the love of the game and said a realization that he could play football as a profession was "just icing on the cake."
"Every single day I put on the helmet, went to the field during the week, went to the field on Sunday – I enjoyed it just like a kid going out and having recess at school," Moss said. "They go to the playground; I'm in between the white lines."
While Moss never played a game at U.S. Bank Stadium, he's looking forward to returning to second-year venue that stands on the former site of the Metrodome, where it all started for him.
"Just an old country boy from Rand, West Virginia. I didn't come here expecting anything but to play a little football," Moss said. "And now, for my name to be in the Vikings Ring of Honor with all these greats [is incredible]."
He recalled growing up and hearing about the Vikings reputation on defense, before transforming the team's offense and earning his spot with other Vikings Legends.
"When I got drafted [by the Vikings], I always wanted to have that tough mentality," Moss said. "I always wanted to get up after a big hit or something like that and just show that I was tough, because I thought that was the Vikings way."
Moss summed up his mindset as he prepares to return to Minneapolis:
"I think it's just [about] being able to smile, man, knowing that you look at this football stadium, something that I started out with at such a young age, and now my name [will be there] forever."