Moss had looked forward to playing with Vick

Updated: July 8, 2006, 12:14 PM ET
By Len Pasquarelli | ESPN.com

ATLANTA -- Wide receiver Randy Moss had hoped for a trade to the Atlanta Falcons or Baltimore Ravens before the March 2005 deal that instead sent him to the Oakland Raiders, he said here this week.

Jonathan Ferrey/Getty ImagesRandy Moss could have been slapping high-fives with Falcons fans if the trade he wanted came to pass.

But his hopes of joining electrifying quarterback Michael Vick on the Falcons' roster, Moss suggested in an interview with a local radio station, were thwarted by the fact that Atlanta owner Arthur Blank and team president Rich McKay wanted nothing to do with the perennial Pro Bowl wide receiver.

"I wanted to play with Atlanta just for the fact of Michael Vick's elusiveness," Moss said. "And I wanted to play with a guy such as [Ravens star middle linebacker] Ray Lewis, because he's on defense and I'm on offense. So I did have dreams and high hopes of being traded to the Atlanta Falcons, but the president and owner . . . told me specifically that [they] did not want me in Atlanta, there's nothing that I can do to get [to] Atlanta, and then wished me the best of luck. [Blank] did not think that Randy Moss would be a good fit in Atlanta."

The admission by Moss was the first confirmation of longstanding rumors that, when Vikings officials were seeking potential trade partners last spring, the wide receiver was eyeing Atlanta as a possible landing spot. But there were never any substantive trade negotiations with the Falcons, and Blank and McKay both said at the time that Moss was not a target, while hinting his off-field problems would keep the team from considering a deal for him.

It is not known if the Ravens ever discussed acquiring Moss in a trade.

Wide Receiver
Oakland Raiders

Profile
2005 SEASON STATISTICS
Rec Yds TD Avg Long YAC
60 1005 8 16.8 79 154

Under the ownership of Blank, and the front office stewardship of McKay, the Falcons have stressed the desire to add high character players. In fact, the Atlanta front office has even created a term, the "Falcons' Filter," to describe how it often eliminates players of dubious background from roster consideration.

Neither McKay nor Blank could be reached to respond to Moss' comments, but the wide receiver's story certainly dovetails with the previous reports that the Falcons were not a suitor for his services, principally because of his past problems.

"Basically, it was the president and the owner of the team saying there [was] no cold chance in hell that [I] would be playing for the Atlanta Falcons," Moss said. "So I took the Atlanta Falcons off my list and I tried to go elsewhere."

That elsewhere was Oakland, to whom Moss was dealt on March 3, 2005, for linebacker Napoleon Harris and first- and seventh-round selections in the 2005 draft.

In his first season with the Raiders, the eight-year veteran had 60 receptions for 1,005 yards and eight touchdowns in 16 appearances, 15 of them starts. The receptions and receiving yards were the lowest of Moss' career for seasons in which he played in all 16 games.

Len Pasquarelli is a senior NFL writer for ESPN.com. To check out Len's chat archive, click here Insider.