The definition of the NFL Comeback Player of the year award is: "The player named Comeback Player of the Year shows perseverance in overcoming adversity, in the form of not being in the NFL the previous year, a severe injury, or simply poor performance." Past winners include: Joe Namath, John Riggins, Joe Montana, Marcus Allen, Dan Marino, Doug Flutie, Tommy Maddox, Tedy Bruschi & Chad Pennington. Then you have Garrison Hearst who is the ultimate comeback player winning the award twice. In Hearst's case as well as Marino, Namath, Montana and Bruschi, the winner was coming off an injury the previous year. They put in the hard work and returned as close to form as possible the next year to receive the honor. In cases like Maddox & Flutie, those players were out of the league for some time and returned to find success they had lost or never had in their previous stint in the league.
Let me start this by saying I am a fan of Randy Moss and think he is one of the top 5 WR's in the game of football. However, the reason I'm writing this is lately I've been hearing people mentioning Moss as a possible Comeback Player of the Year candidate. At first, it seems pretty simple, sure Moss has come back and is enjoying one of the best if not his best season ever. Then you ask yourself this question, What is Moss coming back from? Moss did miss three games in 2006 with a hamstring injury but nothing compared to the back injury Montana overcame or the near career ending stroke Bruschi suffered. However, the awards definition lets you count for poor performance. This is partly true in Moss's case, but the poor performance was his own doing. Moss has said numerous times "I play when I want to play" and evidently when his team is losing he doesn't play. That is where my beef with Moss winning, or even being considered for the award comes in. Here are a few quotes from Moss during the 06 season:
"I might want to look forward to moving somewhere else next year to have another start and really feel good about going out here and playing football"
Moss responded to questions about his dropped passes and lackluster effort in several games, saying "Maybe because I'm unhappy and I'm not too much excited about what's going on, so, my concentration and focus level tend to go down sometimes when I'm in a bad mood."
If a player admittingly quits on his team when they are losing or facing adversity should he be awarded for playing great when things with the team are on the up and up? Last year in Oakland Moss had a career low 42 catches for 553 yards and 3 Tds, both also career lows. The Raiders ended up 2-14 and Moss was traded to the Patriots. The Pats are 15-0 and about to become the first team ever to go 16-0. Magically Moss's performance is through the roof. He has 92 catches 1,393 yards and 21 recieving TDs, one away from tying Jerry Rice's single season record of 22.
Should we reward Moss for a poor 2006 and a great 2007 when he didn't play as hard last year because he was on a bad team? Or should we take a look at some of the other players in the league who have had much more to overcome than being unhappy?
I'd much rather see the award go to someone who busted their ass to either get back in the league or to get healthier than someone who sat on theirs because they're "in a bad mood". I don't know the exact qualifications of the award, but a guy, who if eligible, should get consideration is Buccaneers DE Greg White. White was drafted in the 7th round of the 2002 draft by the Houston Texans but failed to make the roster. He played for two years in the Arena Football League before getting an invite to Bucs training camp this year. White has enjoyed a great season in the NFL and is one of the reasons the Bucs are tied with the Patriots at number one in scoring defense. White is a fierce pass rusher and it's him, not 2007 1st round pick Gaines Adams, who leads the Bucs in sacks. Another candidate who should get a serious mentionin is Cowboys LB Greg Ellis. Ellis converted to linebacker in 2006 and was enjoying a good season until he ruptured his achilles against the Arizona Cardinals. Ellis then missed the final 7 regular season games as well as the Cowboys lone playoff game. He also missed the first four games of the 2007 season. Once back on the field, the Cowboys took it slow with Ellis, he didn't make his first start until Week 7 against Minnesota. In the 12 games Ellis has played he has posted a career high 12.5 sacks (11.5 of them while his team was trailing in the game). I guess thats not bad for a 33 year old coming off of a injury most thought would end his career. There are many other candidates who should get consideration like Ben Roethlisberger and Ryan Grant. Randy Moss and the Patriots are going to get all the records and awards they deserve. The NFL Comeback player of the year shouldn't be one of them.