New England Patriots coach Bill Belichick approached Randy Moss about opening negotiations for a contract extension during this summer's training camp but was brushed off by the receiver, who said the parties could talk after the season, according to a report Sunday in The Boston Globe.
The Globe, citing a source close to Moss, said around that time Moss began to believe that he would be traded before the season began.
Moss, whose contract is up at the end of this season, was dealt to the Minnesota Vikings on Wednesday for a third-round draft pick.
Belichick said in a statement Wednesday that he had discussions during the "past several months" with Moss and his representatives about Moss' "place on our team and his future in football."
The Globe report said Moss had been told by Belichick in February that the team did not intend to bring him back after the 2010 season. But, the report suggests, the Patriots' coach had a change of heart by training camp. As the team stretched one day, Belichick approached Moss about starting talks on a new deal, according to The Globe. Moss told Belichick it wasn't the right time.
As the season approached, however, the mercurial seven-time Pro Bowl receiver voiced his displeasure with being in limbo.
"When you have done so much and put so much work in, it kind of feels like I am not wanted," Moss said before the season began on Sept. 6. "I am taking that in stride and playing my final year out and whatever the future holds is what it holds, but it is kind of a bad feeling -- feeling not wanted. It is not like my production has gone down."
Moss made similar comments during a news conference following the Patriots' season-opening victory over the Bengals. The next day, he apologized for the timing of his remarks, saying he loved playing in New England.
But according to the Boston Herald, citing an unnamed source, Moss told his agent to ask the Patriots to trade him.
The Globe story also said Moss and Patriots quarterbacks coach Bill O'Brien, who had a heated exchange at halftime of Monday's win over the Miami Dolphins, sources told ESPNBoston.com, "never saw eye-to-eye." The source in the Globe story cited "personality differences."
That may not have been the only altercation involving Moss and a member of the Patriots in the final days of his time with New England. Moss and QB Tom Brady had to be separated after a confrontation during the week leading up to the Dolphins game, according to a CBS Sports report. Brady reportedly had become upset with the way Moss was behaving, and at one point told the receiver to shave his beard.
"Moss countered, you need to get your hair cut. You look like a girl," according to CBS Sports' Charley Casserly, a former NFL GM. Brady has grown out his hair this year, saying his wife, supermodel Gisele Bundchen, likes it long.
However, Sports Illustrated's Peter King said on NBC's "Football Night in America" that two highly placed sources in the Patriots' organization called the report untrue. Tom Curran of Comcast SportsNet New England also reported a source saying it's untrue.
Regardless of the alleged incident between the former teammates, Brady has publicly maintained that their relationship remains strong.
"Randy really knows how I feel about him," Brady told the Patriots' website. "I love him, as a guy, as a person, as a player. He did a lot of great things for this team. At the same time I think Coach Belichick feels that's what he thinks he needs to do for the team."