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Around the AFC East, Pt. II - New England Patriots

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Pats Pulpit: SB Nation's Patriots blog

Our second installment of "Around the AFC East" comes from Pats Pulpit, where tommasse answered my question about the Patriots' most questionable off-season addition...

Buffalo Rumblings: How much do you worry about Randy Moss and his ability to conform to a "team-first" atmosphere?

tommasse, Pats Pulpit: Moss has been good about saying the right thing. I wrote extensively about this just last week. But as I said then, "Talk is cheap." While saying the right thing, he did show his prima donna side, hanging up abruptly on a conference call and walking away from the media when one reporter asked Moss a question he didn't like.

But the Patriots have Moss's locker between Tom Brady's and Vinny Testaverde's (he hasn't signed yet), and there are plenty of other veterans who will set a good example. Think of the effect of Cris Carter's mentorship early in Moss's career in Minnesota, then consider what it will be like having Brady, Testaverde, Troy Brown, Rodney Harrison and a dozen other veteran, proven winners can achieve.

What encourages me is that Bill Belichick and Scott Pioli made this move, as they have in the past, because of their confidence in the player, and what their past coaches and teammates have said about him, to be (or become) a "Patriots kind of player." Several of those veterans, plus Tedy Bruschi and others, said good things about Moss during the recent New England minicamp.

And Moss hasn't been all talk. While he worked out independently in Florida (as he's always done) during the Patriots' first voluntary minicap just after the draft, he relocated to Foxboro on May 16 to participate in the offseason conditioning program -- pretty major surprise to many people.

Ultimately, I can't silence the voices that remind me that Moss's (bad) reputation extends far beyond the gridirons and the locker rooms. That's something we've rarely had to deal with in New England. Corey Dillon had quite a record (the police kind), yet he was an upstanding citizen during his short tenure. So, it's not impossible.

And the Patriots aren't married to this guy, and that's the major reason I don't "worry" about it, per se. If it doesn't work out, if he displays the lack of team commitment he's shown elsewhere, they dump him and move on. But if it does work out ... ?

Personally, I wouldn't be surprised either way with Moss in New England. If the Pats start the season off hot (read: at least 4-1), then Moss won't say a word. Anything less than that and he's bound to become a distraction - especially if he's not getting the ball as often as he'd like. He went to New England to win games, but if he's uninvolved and the Pats aren't performing up to their usual standards, Moss won't hesitate to mouth off.

Anybody have any thoughts they'd like to add to this discussion about Moss in New England?