It’s all about team chemistry. When the New England Patriots traded All-Pro wide receiver Randy Moss to the Minnesota Vikings for a third-round draft pick, Patriot fans feared the worst.
Moss was a deep threat and even though he hadn’t been having a great year, just his presence allowed the other Patriot receivers to get open.
It also helped open up the running game.
But it is vitally important to have a healthy work environment.
When Moss was voted out as a captain by his teammates at the outset of the season after he had been a captain the previous two years, the handwriting was on the wall.
His teammates obviously sensed that Moss wasn’t deserving of being a captain.
Moss complained about not having his contract extended and said he doubted if he would return to New England next season.
It was very similar to the Manny Ramirez situation.
Moss didn’t quit on his teammates in as obvious a manner as Manny did his Boston Red Sox teammates.
But Moss certainly wasn’t busting his tail and taking full advantage of his talent.
In both cases, you had a pair of players who wore out their welcome and weren’t professional enough to fulfill the terms of their contracts by giving 100 percent until the season ended.
They created dissension in the locker room.
They made the locker room unpleasant.
They had become a distraction.
They alienated their teammates. They had their friends and their detractors.
We have all experienced similar situations.
Somewhere in our travels, we’ve all encountered a co-worker we didn’t care for.
It made coming to work less enjoyable.
You tried to avoid the co-worker but, inevitably, you couldn’t.
Teams that have a healthy team chemistry usually live up to expectations or exceed them.
The players pull for each other and feel compelled to do their best because they don’t want to let their teammates down.
That doesn’t mean they win championships. There are a lot of factors involved in claiming a title such as talent, coaching, etc.
It means they maximize their potential.
And that’s all you can ask from a team.
The Patriots did regain the services of 2005 Super Bowl MVP and wide receiver Deion Branch from Seattle in a trade.
The Patriots gave away a fourth-round draft pick.
He is a different type of receiver from Moss, who has worn out his welcome before.
He is 5-foot-9 while Moss is 6-4.
Moss is a more physical receiver but Branch is lightning-quick. He is resourceful and tough to cover.
He is familiar with Pats quarterback Tom Brady and the pair remained friends after he left the Pats for Seattle following the 2005 season.
Just as importantly, Branch wants to be a Patriot again.
The Patriots are an organization that insists on standards.
If you sign a contract, they expect you to honor it.
This team would certainly be better if Logan Mankins was playing left guard.
But he is holding out for a new contract. He couldn’t reach an agreement with the Patriots.
He still should honor his current contract.
You have to respect an organization that sticks to its guns.
There are too many star athletes who hold their organizations hostage until they get what they want.
That shouldn’t happen.
The Patriots will be fine without the Randy Moss who was simply going through the motions this season.
He wasn’t the same Randy Moss one who helped lead them to the Super Bowl in 2008.