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Randy Moss on Hall of Fame induction: ‘This is for us’

August 5, 2018

CANTON, Ohio Randy Moss, who made the first of a lifetime of great catches as a budding 6-year-old SuperFreak in Rand, W.Va., has completed his 200-mile, first-ballot beeline due North from his poor, often troubled youth to the games grandest stage at the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

I already know the question in your head: What am I made of? Moss said Saturday night during his enshrinement speech in front of 22,205 fans inside Tom Benson Hall of Fame Stadium. I am a living testimony, a walking testimony, not just to the football fans, but to the whole world.

I knew God put me here to teach and to lead others down the right path. But first I had to learn from my own mistakes. I had to mature, and with all that, I had to stay right with God.

Moss, just the third first-ballot receiver to enter the Hall of Fame since 1984, ranks second in NFL history in receiving touchdowns (156), fourth in yards receiving (15,292) and 15th in catches (982).

Moss praised his mother, Maxine, early in his speech. He ended his speech looking to his mother in the crowd and saying, Maxine Patricia Moss, WE are in the Pro Football Hall of Fame. God bless and have a good night.

Moss spoke for 16 minutes, 52 seconds. He had the third-longest speech heading into the nights seventh and final speech by Ray Lewis.

Moss had always thought former Vikings coach Denny Green would be his Hall of Fame presenter. Green, who died in July of 2016, was Moss biggest believer, biggest supporter and the guy who insisted the Vikings overlook Moss well-publicized off-the-field troubles and select Moss when he fell past 20 teams including the Bengals twice before Green caught him at 21st overall.

Dennis is here in spirit, Moss said Friday afternoon. While writing my speech, I always kept coach Green on my mind. I just remember when he left Minnesota, all the negative comments and articles writing about him. I still think its unfair. The man didnt get his just due. But hes here with me in spirit. I wanted him to present me.

Moss, however, said Friday that he became emotional when he decided on his second choice as presenter, oldest son Thaddeus.

Its going to be surreal, Moss said of hearing his sons prerecorded presentation. Its going to mean a lot to me. Hopefully, it means as much to him as it does to me.

Thaddeus, a tight end at LSU, had to miss the start of the Tigers fall camp to attend this weeks festivities. He had the blessing of coach Ed Orgeron the moment he told him that dad had called with a special request back in mid-February.

When he saw dads number on caller ID, Thaddeus thought he was in trouble.

I was like, Oh man, what have I done, Thaddeus told the New Orleans Times-Picayune. It did catch me off guard. It had me at a loss for words.

Hours before Saturdays enshrinement ceremonies, thousands of fans roamed the grounds of the Hall of Fame. The most popular Class of 2018 piece of clothing, by far, was Brian Dawkins No. 20 Eagles jersey. Second was Ray Lewis No. 52 Ravens jersey.

But Moss had his share of supporters. Most wore his No. 84 Vikings jersey. Some wore his No. 84 Pro Bowl jersey, his No. 81 Patriots jersey and even his No. 18 Raiders jersey.

But only one was spotted wearing a No. 3 DuPont High School jersey with Moss name on the back.

Theres a few of us around, said Kennedy Minor, 54, the uncle of Sam Singleton, one of Moss teammates at DuPont and one of the focal points of Rand University, the ESPN documentary on Moss.

Standing next to him was Nikia Porter, 43, who was wearing a T-shirt that read, Randy Moss. Rand 2 Canton. He became friends with Moss while growing up in Minnetonka while his cousin, Anthony Phillips, spent a short stint with the Vikings in 1998, Moss rookie year.

You see the shirt right there, said Minor, nodding to Porter. Randy is here. But Rand is here, too. Theres 50 or 60 just in our group. Were everywhere.

Minor, who is black, every black person in Rand can associate with Moss poor, troubled upbringing. Raised by a single-parent mother, Maxine, and having little contact with his father, Randy Pratt, Moss career path took a detour when he pleaded guilty to two misdemeanor battery charges for his role in a racially-charged fight at DuPont.

Moss was expelled, lost his scholarship to Notre Dame and was jailed for three days. He also was dismissed from Florida State after testing positive for marijuana and didnt right his path until landing at Division I-AA Marshall for two seasons.

His adversity is my adversity, its everybodys adversity who grew up black in West Virginia, Minor said. Randys story is all our stories. He showed he can make it, proved it can be done. So its great for Randy, but its also great for Rand, W. Va.

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