In only his second game with the Washington Redskins, the former University of Miami star scored two late touchdowns vs. Dallas to give the Redskins an improbable 14-13 victory.
And in 2012, he was then-rookie quarterback
But the 2013 season saw the two-time Pro Bowler collect less than 500 receiving yards for the first time since 2002. He also recorded only two touchdown receptions.
Questions began to surface about the 14-year veteran. Had Father Time caught up with him? Does he even have a spot in Washington anymore? If he does, will he be the same Moss Redskins fans are used to seeing?
Those queries turned to whispers when he re-signed in March, and by the time offseason activities got underway and No. 89 was looking spry, they were all but forgotten.
“Santana, he’s had an excellent offseason program,” head coach Jay Gruden said during OTAs. “He knows every position, he’s making big plays out there. He looks like a young kid, he’s got energy, he’s a great leader.
“He’s working out hard. He’s the first one out there, I like having guys like that, veteran guys who are great examples for rookies and also can help you win in big games. You know the game’s not too big for them because they’ve been there and done that. He’s another one that’s going to help this team out.”
Moss incorporated several workout ideas from seasons past to help get him ready for 2014. He also didn’t delay his path back to training.
“When I got to the point where I knew I didn’t have to do stuff when the season was over, that’s when I found out I lost myself a little bit in terms of keeping myself right,” Moss said during training camp. “I have actually been doing things I did before by staying in shape, hitting the weight room and eating right.
“Every day, you get better and you learn a little bit more about what you can and can’t do.”
Working With Young Quarterbacks
Moss has caught passes from a lot of different quarterbacks, but this season he’ll be working with two of the quarterbacks on the roster – Robert Griffin III and
Seeing the high and lows each have gone through during their first two NFL seasons, Moss said he wants to continue to be there for them.
“It doesn’t matter how many years they’ve been playing. You have to be able to go out there and produce with those guys."
Moss is confident Griffin III and Cousins will continue to have successful careers as NFL quarterbacks long after he leaves the game.
“That’s the joy of being out there with those guys," he said. "Because you know sooner or later you will be watching them and they will have that long career and you can say that I started with that guy and helped them mature every year.”
Dynamic With Wide Receivers Coach
For some, working with a boss only a few years older can be a struggle. But for Moss, working with wide receivers coach Ike Hilliard isn’t a problem.
“I love Ike,” Moss said of Hilliard, who last coached with the Redskins in 2012. “On this pro level, you rarely find the guys that played this game and know what you go through. Keeping that in mind, he not going to rah-rah you. He’s not going to be pissed off at you when you don’t make a play. He’s been there before.”
And even though Moss has practically seen it all, he isn’t shrugging off Hilliard’s advice.
“Any time I have a question about a release or a coverage or a route, he’s always there to give me insight,” Moss said. “That’s what you need no matter how many years you play in the league. There’s always going to be something that comes up that you need help with. He’s always there for that.”