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Randy Moss let me interview him once while laying on a grimy mattress

Posted Aug 02 2011 2:00pm

Reporters rarely get one-on-ones with stars like Randy Moss/photo courtesy Boston Globe

It’s August 1999. I’m a reporter at the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. In my duties as the NFL Cowboys writer, the Star-T has sent me to Vikings training camp, to a town called Mankato, Minnesota, where the Vikings are conducting drills at Minnesota State University.

I’m there to write a piece on Moss, how he is adjusting to the superstardom, etc. I stand on the sidelines while the Vikings practice and afterwards, the Vikings PR guy herds me and the NFL writer from the Dallas Morning News, Rick Gosselin, into a dusty, empty dorm room with two twin beds and two dinky little chairs.

“Wait right here,” the PR guy says, “I’ll go get Randy.”

A few minutes later, Moss walks in the room in his practice sweats and No. 84 jersey and plops down on this icky mattress, which had no sheet on it. We tell Moss where we are from and he says, “Boy, y’all came a long way to talk to me.” He answers every question that Rick and I ask of him. He is still kind of perturbed that the Cowboys did not draft him the previous spring, but he is, “on to bigger and better things now.”  He likes it in Minneapolis. The fans are good to him, etc., etc.

This was, of course, way before Twitter and Facebook, and when you didn’t have to be on a major network to get a one-on-one interview with a big-time football star from the other team. When Moss “retired” the other day, I shot off an email to Gosselin – now a sports columnist at the Dallas Morning News – to see if he remembered that day with Moss.

Gosselin, a star in his own right – he has turned down at least one job offer to work in the scouting/front office of an NFL team – graciously returned my email. He said he still remembers the Moss interview and echoed my sentiments about how challenging it is to get one-on-one time with superstars nowadays.

Clemenza loved to go to the mattresses

Anyways, it seems that the 1990s were the last of the good old days of being a sports reporter. Now, every time you see an athlete talk, its in front of a mob of tape recorders and video cameras.

They spew cliches like they are breathing. And if they decide to say something newsworthy, they break it on their Twitter page first.

To steal a quote from the mob: Sports needs to go (back) to the mattresses.

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