Far from a perfect day (cont.)
Posted: Wednesday January 16, 2008 4:00PM; Updated: Wednesday January 16, 2008 4:10PM
But up until now in Moss' New England tenure, stuff hadn't happened. Plenty of stuff happened to Moss in his seven years in Minnesota, and some in his two desultory seasons in Oakland. But his time with the Patriots had represented the ultimate in fresh starts. Until Wednesday's mess, he had hit every note perfectly, both on and off the field in New England.
Moss displayed most of his angst Wednesday when asked about the impact that his legal situation could have on the Patriots' well-oiled victory machine. That's when he was his most sincere sounding, full of remorse that he was involved in anything that could bring taint to his new team, or distract it from the task at hand in Sunday's AFC title game against visiting San Diego.
"That's the one thing I want to do,'' said Moss when asked if he looked forward to clearing his name. "Because throughout this whole season, everything has been positive. Why would I bring something negative on? Come on.
"This is something negative, a black cloud hanging over my head. That's something I did not want coming into the season, anything negative. Everything I tried to do -- from getting here early, and making sure I eat the right food, all the way to practicing and playing good, I wanted all that to be an A-plus.''
It's way too early to know if this story is anything more than a blip on the screen for the Super Bowl-favored Patriots. But even he is aware enough of his reputation to know he might not get the benefit of the doubt.
"It's hard, because of everything I've been through, mostly the negatives off the field,'' Moss said, when asked about swaying public opinion toward his innocence. "It's really hard for me to sit up here and say that I'm innocent. Battery -- I didn't hit no woman. I've never laid my hands on a woman. So for you to say battery, now I think if there was such a thing in the court system as an accident, then that's what I'm guilty for. But for you to say I physically, or in an angry manner -- whatever the manner may be -- put my hands on a woman physically, I've never done that.''
There was no way to know on Wednesday how to judge guilt or innocence in this case. But for Moss and the undefeated Patriots, staying on message was impossible on this day. The perfect season remains intact in New England, but nirvana was suddenly nowhere in sight.
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