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With Moss, good comes with the bad

EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. -- There is no truth to the rumor Randy Moss wants to switch his jersey number from 84 to 666. Though he is prone to devilish behavior, he is not the devil incarnate.

Moss visits sick and homeless children. It was his idea to throw a holiday party at the Vikings' indoor practice facility for hundreds of homeless kids and adults last month.

He is capable of good deeds.

It is just too bad that side of Randy Moss is regularly overshadowed by a seamier side. Moss can be obstinate, self-centered and shocking -- often at the same time.

Sunday on ESPN, Moss was ripped by former NFL stars Michael Irvin, Steve Young and Tom Jackson. Irvin said Moss "only cares about himself'' and was "not a good guy to have on your football team.''

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Irvin and the others spoke before Moss made like he was dropping his drawers in the end zone at Lambeau Field to moon Packers fans.

Irvin, Young and Jackson all tore into Moss for abandoning his teammates and heading to the locker room with two seconds left in the final regular season game at Washington.

Over the past week, Moss has shown himself to be a wonderfully gifted athlete -- he had two touchdown catches in the victory over the Packers -- and a magnet for trouble.

After the Redskins incident, you might have thought Moss would behave, if not appropriately, at least not obscenely.

The NFL will fine him for what he did in the Lambeau end zone because he violated a league rule that orders discipline for "obscene gestures or other actions construed as being in poor taste.''

The mooning was just part of it. Moss also was caught on camera yelling obscenities at Packer fans as he urged them to look at the scoreboard when the Vikings were up 17-0.

After Sunday's game, Moss said he was "just having a little fun with the boys.''

Frankly, what Moss did was less offensive than abandoning his teammates in Washington.

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Asked Monday if he thought Moss still was the difference in games, Tice said, "Yes, and not even because of the plays he makes but because of the adjustments the defense has to make to account for him.''

Fans should make adjustments with Moss, too. Instead of being outraged by his behavior, parents and coaches of youth teams should use him as a teaching tool. They should tell their kids never to do what Randy Moss did in the end zone at Lambeau Field, and don't ever do what he did at the end of the game in Washington and don't ever squirt with the water bottle and -- well, Moss provides a load of examples of what not to do.

Maybe that could be Moss' biggest contribution, the anti-role model.

Bob Sansevere is a sports columnist with the St. Paul Pioneer Press.

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