- The Washington Times - Wednesday, May 13, 2020

After going unselected in last month’s NFL draft, Thaddeus Moss had options.

The Cincinnati Bengals wanted to sign the 21-year-old tight end, giving him the chance to reunite with his quarterback at LSU, Joe Burrow. The New England Patriots also expressed interest, a possibility that would have meant playing for a team where his Hall of Fame father Randy Moss played.

But in the end, Moss signed with the Washington Redskins, the first team to reach out.

“That actually meant a lot to me,” Moss said. “(The Redskins) were the first team who contacted me and that’s who I was going to stick with.”

The Redskins option might have been the best situation for Moss, given the Redskins’ talent (or lack thereof) at his position. But he didn’t mention that Wednesday, when met with reporters over Zoom.

Instead, he talked about the anger and disappointment that came with going undrafted. He discussed his father — answering the many questions about his family name — and the challenges he faced. And he spoke about legacy, namely his desire to craft his own.

Moss isn’t focused on making teams regret passing on him in the draft as much as he is on proving he can make a name for himself beyond just being his father’s son.

“I wouldn’t want my last name to do anything for me,” Moss said. “I’d rather work for everything.”

He’ll have too, After all, that famous name wasn’t enough to get him picked in the draft.

In a thin tight end class, Moss was passed over due to concerns about his size (6-foot-3, 249 pounds) and a fractured foot that required surgery.

Still, Moss said he felt it was “a slap in the face.” It ignored the years of hard work he put in, the national championship he and Burrow and the other Tigers won, he said.

It was especially frustrating, he said, to see kickers and punters — even a long snapper — taken while his name went uncalled.

As his draft slide happened, Moss could tell his dad didn’t know what to say, he recalled. So instead of receiving fatherly advice, Moss did the talking. This was no different, he said, than what he had been going through his whole life. This was another chance to prove himself, just like he’s had to do for those skeptical over his name.

Now that he’s with the Redskins, Moss is trying to absorb as much information as he can. Over the weekend, the Redskins hosted a virtual rookie minicamp due to the restrictions of the coronavirus, and Moss said it was “absolutely” a different experience. Beyond not being in the same place, an NFL playbook is entirely different than what Moss learned at LSU.

To learn it, Moss said he’s written 25 pages of notes — something he rarely did in college.

As an undrafted free agent, Moss will have to fight for a roster spot. But he’s looking forward to it. At LSU, his strengths were as a blocker and the tight end said everyone will see it whenever he takes the field again. Asked about his foot, Moss said he expects to be ready to go by the time training camp happens (whenever that is).

But Moss is ready to earn people’s respect in the NFL. For his own sake.

“I finally have reached that point where I am tired of the comparisons,” Moss said. “You know everybody keeps mentioning my father, mentioning his last name but, just the identity that I want to make is my own identity. I look forward to getting out there and making a name for myself.”

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