Redskins Re-Assign No. 89; Could Santana Moss Be Done?

WASHINGTON — As the Washington Redskins prepare for rookie minicamp this weekend, a proverbial passing of the torch may be happening in the team’s equipment room.

For the last decade, No. 89 has been synonymous with receiver Santana Moss, who has served myriad roles for the offense and locker room over the years. Now, his jersey, place on the roster and locker just inside the team room at Redskins Park could be filled by younger, cheaper talent.

According to the team’s official roster, No. 89 has been at least temporarily assigned to undrafted rookie tight end Devin Mahina, BYU, who will be fighting for his spot on the 90-man roster heading into training camp.

All numbers assigned at this point in the process are subject to change, as roster tryouts, drafted and undrafted rookies look to make an impression on the coaching staff. But as the team gets deeper into free agency and closer to training camp, Moss, a free agent, seems further from the picture.

And for good reason, at least by the numbers.

Moss hasn’t been a full-time starter since 2011, and he hasn’t started 16 games since 2010. Last year, he made zero starts with zero touchdowns for the first time since his rookie campaign in 2001. He had 15 targets and 10 receptions for 116 yards, all lows since 2001. Long removed from being the focal point of the offense or special teams, Moss offers only memories of the skill set that made him one of the most dynamic threats in the NFL through the first decade of the 2000s.

The Redskins have addressed the receiver position heavily in free agency, adding Pierre Garcon, DeSean Jackson and Andre Roberts in recent years. They have also drafted high-upside receivers Ryan Grant and Jamison Crowder in the last two drafts, making Moss expendable.

Judging from his comments heading into the offseason, Moss is aware of that fact, but wants a chance for one last rodeo.

“I know what time it is right now in my career,” Moss said at the time. “All the accolades, it’s in the past, it’s been done. I’m just trying to win, and trying to be a part of something that wants to win.

“And I never wanted to leave this place, so hopefully, I can continue to be a part of this place, because I know upstairs and the guys that are trying to put this team together year in and year out, that’s their focus, too. But I can’t predict it.”

For what it’s worth, Moss still believes he has the ability to compete and win at the NFL level.

“If I couldn’t do what I’m doing, I wouldn’t be here today. It’s just different times,” he said. “I have to deal with something I’ve seen a lot of guys go through.”

Whether or not Moss returns, don’t expect the retirement send-offs shown to other iconic Redskins like Clinton Portis and Chris Samuels in recent years. Instead, the man who carried himself with such ferocity on game day and a businesslike approach to practice will opt to go out his way.

“When I leave this game, there’s not going to be no press conference,” Moss said late last season. “I’ll probably be somewhere at home and you’ll find out I’m gone. Seriously. I’m not good with goodbyes and I’m not going to sit here and make it a big deal about me.

“At the end of the day when it’s over it’s over, and there’s no need to be announced.”

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