Killion: Greatness? It's what 49ers' Randy Moss lacked

San Francisco Chronicle - The San Francisco 49ers are shedding the replaceable parts of their Super Bowl team. On Wednesday they cut David Akers, 12 weeks later than many thought they should. Earlier Randy Moss tweeted his farewell. Neither will be sorely missed.

Akers' legacy will be as a kicker who helped the team succeed in 2011 and helped fans to the brink of a nervous breakdown in 2012.

Moss' 49ers legacy? It's not as important as Akers. He will be remembered in the Bay Area as a player who didn't show up when it counted.

This should be the end of the Randy Moss Story, though his career is becoming a bit like J.R.R. Tolkein's "The Return of the King," with endings that go on and on. Another team -- which would be his fourth since leaving the New England Patriots and seventh overall -- may pick him up in free agency, enticed by Moss' self-proclaimed credentials as the greatest receiver ever and the fact that he helped the 49ers get to a Super Bowl.

But did he really? I lost a bet made in early 2012 that Moss and Manny Ramirez would have the same impact on their respective teams: exactly zero. I lose only because, while Ramirez made no impact at all on the Oakland A's, Moss made a marginal contribution. He caught 35 balls, and with the injury to Mario Manningham and invisibility of top draft pick A.J. Jenkins, that matters. Moss also counseled young guys like Michael Crabtree and Colin Kaepernick.

But the final memory of Moss will be in the Super Bowl when he watched a ball fly over his head into Ed Reed's waiting arms. The ball was uncatchable but the lack of effort was unforgivable.

It's a Moss quality that the Oakland Raiders remember. The extra effort was rarely there. Tellingly, Moss was a nonfactor in the final four plays that determined the 49ers' Super Bowl destiny, exactly the kind of plays the 49ers brought him in to make.

Our primary memory will be of Moss wearing the same uniform as Jerry Rice and proclaiming himself the greatest ever. He never showed the Bay Area that side of him. Not once. 

(Contact Ann Killion at akillion(at); Twitter: (at)annkillion.)

(Distributed by Scripps Howard News Service,

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