FOXBOROUGH, Mass. – Patriots receiver Randy Moss lashed out in a lengthy and passionate news conference after Sunday's 38-24 victory over the Cincinnati Bengals, saying he doesn't feel appreciated in New England and that waiting until after the season to get a new contract would be "a smack in my face."
Bristling at reports this week that said he was unhappy, Moss promised not to be a distraction even though he doesn't think the Patriots appreciate his contributions since arriving in 2007. He has had three straight 1,000-yard seasons, including a record-setting '07 in which he caught 23 touchdowns while helping New England to a perfect 16-0 mark in the regular season.
"It's not that I'm mad or trying to be disgruntled. I'm hurt. You give me a word," he said. "Sometimes you want your boss to tell you you're doing a good job. That's every man or woman who works for somebody. ... And that's just the way with football. If you do a good job and think that you're doing a good job, you want to be appreciated. I really don't think that — me, personally — that I'm appreciated."
But Moss, who complained that reporters twist his words around, also said in a 16-minute back-and-forth: "I'm not saying that I'm not appreciated here."
After a week in which quarterback Tom Brady was made the highest-paid player in the NFL, Moss said he would consider an extension to stay in New England. But Moss said there have been no new talks about a new deal to replace the one that expires after this season.
"This is the last year of my contract. Nothing has been discussed. There's not been anything said. Not a letter. Nothing," he said. "I'm not saying that I want to stay here, but I love playing here. If the future of my job lets me go to another team, then that's what it's going to be. But for right now, I'm still in a contract for the New England Patriots, and I have a job to do.
"I don't want to talk about contracts. I just want to let you all know that I'm here to play my last season out. If an opportunity later on in the season presents itself for me to be a New England Patriot, I will accept that. But if it doesn't, I must move on."
And if the offer comes after the season?
"I don't really want to get to that," he said. "I've already showed that I can play still at a high level at age 33. For me to be offered a contract after this season is over, I think that would be a smack in my face."
Over 13 years with three teams, Moss has left a trail of on-field accomplishments and off-field problems. His Hall of Fame talent has been marred by rancorous departures from Minnesota and Oakland, and the Raiders traded him to the Patriots on the weekend of the 2007 draft for the bargain price of a fourth-round pick.
"I've got a long history," Moss said. "My history has nothing to do with anything too, too bad. Everybody has a certain mystique about them. I guess that people just don't like the way that I carry myself. If that's what it is, then that's what it is."
Although his time in New England has not been without controversy — before the 2008 Super Bowl, a woman took out a restraining order against him; he said she was trying to extort money from him — Moss has mostly avoided trouble.
"When it comes to football, I take my job seriously," he said. "But I think around here in the New England area, a lot of people don't want to see me do good. And the reason why, I don't know. I really don't care. ... Me being unhappy doesn't have anything to do with me toning my game down. I'm here, and I understand my role. My role is to take the ball deep and take the top off the defense."
Asked who wants him to fail, Moss told reporters, "I'm just thinking that the journey that I've taken to get to where I'm at, 13 years, I don't really feel that I'm very liked. And I'm not saying from you all. I don't really give a damn if you like me, to be honest with you."
Since the story on CBSSports.com on Monday said Moss felt "not wanted," several teammates, including Brady, have praised Moss.
"Randy's a great teammate ... and obviously (he's) been at the top of the game at his position," receiver Wes Welker said. "There's really nobody that can do what Randy does. It's pretty much unheard of. So, he's a great player and a great teammate and I'm glad he's on our team."