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Not surprisingly, no one jumped at the chance to offer Moss a job in 2011.
It looked as though retirement had arrived, whether he wanted it or not.
Moss used the off year to reconnect with his children, to get in some fishing, to watch some games on Sundays. But he also shed some tears, pained at the idea of ending his career before he was ready to go. He made sure to stay in shape, just in case someone wanted to give him another chance.
"I love this game of football so much," Moss said. "I don’t like everything that comes with it, but going out on the field between the white lines and playing football is something I’ve always done. I’ve been doing it since I was 6 years old. For me to be able to just walk away from the game, knowing that I wasn’t ready, mentally or physically, it really hurt me, man. It really depressed me."
Then came a call from the 49ers, who had come up just short of the Super Bowl during his season away. They felt Moss was one of those players who might help them get over the hump — not so much for what he could do on the field, but the impact he might have on the youngsters in the locker room.
Moss started only two games, finishing with 28 catches, 434 yards and three TDs. But he had the desired impact on Crabtree and Kaepernick, passing on his many experiences to those who will carry the franchise into the future.
"One thing that impressed me the most about Randy is the way that he works with all the other guys, and not even just the receivers," 49ers fullback Bruce Miller said. "He’s so knowledgeable about the game of football that he coaches other positions and has all kinds of tips and reminders for everyone."
As the Superdome clock ticked down to zero, indicating the 49ers’ hour-long media session was over, Moss continued to chat away at the podium.
Finally, Davis came over to pull him away.
It was almost as if Moss wanted to cling to the spotlight as long as possible.
"It’s been fun," he said. "But I’ve got to go."
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