FOXBOROUGH, Mass. - Patriots coach Bill Belichick denied Wednesday the claim by Raiders owner Al Davis that New England had a workout with Randy Moss before obtaining him in a trade with Oakland.
Davis said Tuesday that the Patriots had tampered with Moss before the deal in April 2007 that brought the wide receiver to the Patriots for a fourth-round choice that year on the weekend of the NFL draft.
“I’ve told the story about Randy many, many times,” Belichick said in a conference call with members of the media covering the 49ers, “and the first time I ever talked to Randy was the Sunday morning of the second day of the draft last year.
“So that’s the first time I met him. That’s the first time I talked to him. There was no workout. There was no other contact with him.”
Davis made the tampering accusation after ending a news conference in which he announced the firing of coach Lane Kiffin.
Asked Wednesday if he had a response to Davis, Moss said, “No, not at all.”
Belichick sidestepped the question when asked by New England reporters, saying he was concentrating on Sunday’s game at San Francisco.
In an e-mail to The Associated Press, NFL spokesman Greg Aiello said Wednesday, “No tampering charges have ever been filed with our office with respect to Randy Moss.”
Moss, disgruntled for most of his two seasons with the Raiders, set an NFL single-season record with 23 touchdown receptions in his first season with New England.
Davis said other teams didn’t want Moss before the Patriots obtained him.
“You know how many teams turned him down?” Davis said. “That guy in Green Bay thought he couldn’t run any more. Even Denver, where they’ll take anybody, turned him down.”
Davis said former Raiders senior personnel executive Michael Lombardi, who was fired 10 days after the Moss trade, spoke to Belichick about Moss.
“What’s his name knew he could run, he’s a friend of Belichick’s. Mike Lombardi,” Davis said Tuesday. “Mike sold what’s his name, Belichick, on the idea that he could run. They tampered with him. I remember (Patriots owner) Bob Kraft saying that he had to look him in the eye and all that. They went down and worked him out, he could run. He’s their team, of course, with the quarterback.”
Moss had 98 catches during the regular season last year, 22 in the first three games. With Brady out for the season after hurting his knee in the opener, Moss has 12 catches in three games.
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