Enthusiasm rubs off. Just ask
At the ripe age of 35, the NFL’s vertical passing threat extraordinaire feels some “pep” in his step based on his three months worth of experiences with the San Francisco 49ers, who signed the 14-year veteran to a one-year contract this offseason.
“I love being in the locker room, I love being around the guys,” Moss said on Friday, the first day of 49ers training camp. “These guys are younger, they’re very enthusiastic. I don’t really feel my age being around these guys.”
It’s not just Moss who’s enjoying his surroundings. Jim Harbaugh and starting quarterback
Asked about the best part of having the future Hall of Famer on his team, Harbaugh said it was being out on the practice fields with the 6-foot-4, 210-pound wide receiver who began his playing career while the 49ers coach was wrapping up his own.
Echoing those thoughts, Smith said he got over the intimidation of throwing to a respected football star of his childhood, just from getting to know Moss on a personal level in the team’s offseason program.
“The great thing about Randy is, he keeps it light,” Smith said. “He makes it fun to play out there. He’s a great communicator out there, he sees things really well. It’s been great working with him, honestly I’ve learned a lot.”
Moss, one of the most productive downfield threats in NFL history (954 receptions, 14,858 receiving yards and 153 touchdowns), is eager to continue building timing with his new quarterback.
“We’ve got a nice group of receivers here,” Moss said. “With Alex Smith as the quarterback, we all have to get our timing down. It’s a work in progress. But I look forward to going out and competing every day.”
Harbaugh said the 49ers have five players considered to be No. 1 wideouts: Moss,
Moss didn’t make any grandiose promises on his first day of training camp with San Francisco. Instead, he offered a more sound view of his personal expectations.
“I’ve been around the block a few times to really understand what (Harbaugh) wants from me,” Moss said. “We have a young team here and with me being a veteran… just trying to bring something positive as far as my leadership on and off the field. Hopefully, it’s been a good thing.”
Moss hasn’t needed to do much in the form of motivation – he sees the 49ers doing just fine in that department.
Moss is the same way. And that’s why he’s been so appreciated by his new teammates and coaching staff.
“I’m really pleased and happy that we have Randy Moss on our football team,” Harbaugh said. “He’s doing an outstanding job. He’s been exceeding expectations.”
Asked about his own expectations for his return to football after stepping away from the game in 2011, Moss said he would leave that to the media.
“I just want to play football. Coach Harbaugh and this organization have accepted me… hopefully I can give something back in return with my play and presence on and off the field.”
In the mean time, Moss enjoyed his experience at San Francisco’s annual Pasta Bowl charity event which benefits the 49ers Foundation’s mission to keep kids, “Safe, on track and in school.”
It was a total eye-opener to Moss.
“Everything they stand for as far as giving back to the community and helping kids out, I think that’s been my motto my whole career, just giving back and showing kids a good way of living,” he explained. “Last night really raised me up as a person, seeing how this organization does their charity work.”
Soon, the 49ers will see how Moss plans to give back to the team’s Faithful fans.