Originally written on NESN.com  |  Last updated 11/12/14
Randy Moss has been known for many things throughout his 14-year NFL career. His freakish athleticism, disruptive attitude, unusual touchdown celebrations, and even his preference to pay in "straight cash, homey" all immediately come to mind when discussing Moss. But among all the clear descriptors, leadership never seemed to make the list. Leaders typically don't alienate themselves from teammates, complain about not getting the ball or find themselves on three different teams in a single season. Moss may be one of the best athletes to ever don shoulder pads and a helmet, but the term "leader" just never seemed to be an appropriate fit. Until now. Upon deciding to return to the football field this season after a year away, Moss claimed to have found a new perspective on life and his playing career. He's making good on his promise. Moss has been an unselfish and emotional leader for the 49ers this season, even with an unusually small role in the offense. And he showed off his team-oriented attitude once again on Monday night. Facing a very stingy Cardinals defense, the Niners knew they would need to establish both facets on offense. Moss may not have been a major part of that game plan, but he more than played his part in their offensive success. The focus of Moss' performance will surround his impressive 47-yard touchdown catch that gave the 49ers a commanding 24-0 lead in the fourth quarter. But his impact extended far beyond just that play. Moss was also sustaining blocks --shocker, I know -- and being used as a decoy deep to set up more opportunities in the middle of the field. What's most impressive about Moss' night, especially in a game where he was targeted just once, is that the seven-time Pro Bowler was satisfied. A stat monger and unsatisfied prima donna for much of his career, Moss has finally developed into the team-first player that made guys like Jerry Rice so successful. It must be pure coincidence that he's doing it where Rice also made a name for himself. The impact of Moss' unselfishness also seems to be extending out onto some of his teammates, too. Michael Crabtree, who has largely been a disappointment since the 49ers selected him 10th overall in 2009, has enjoyed a much-awaited breakout this season, and Moss' impact on such is evident. After a couple of tough outings against the Seahawks and Giants, Crabtree tied a personal best with a two-touchdown performance in the 49ers' 24-3 win in Arizona. He pulled in all five passes thrown his way, and helped Alex Smith establish a rhythm that saw the veteran quarterback complete 18 of his 19 passes. But it was Moss' deep threat ability that caused the Cardinals to fall into a deeper zone, allowing Crabtree space to roam free for much of the night. At age 35, Moss has lost a step and isn't the same receiver who racked up 1,600 yards for the Vikings in 2003 or caught 23 touchdowns for the Patriots in 2007. But what Moss has lost in physical ability, he's gained in leadership. And that might be exactly what San Francisco needs from him. Have a question for Luke Hughes? Send it to him via Twitter at @LukeFHughes or send it here.
GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

UMass to retire jersey in honor of John Calipari

Houston Texans are moving on from Andre Johnson

Top landing spots for Darrelle Revis

Mets: Murphy will no longer discuss his religious beliefs

Randall Cobb rejects contract proposal from Packers

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Peyton Manning to take $4 million pay cut with Broncos

Kevin Durant has ‘no doubt’ he’ll return this season

Sidney Rice, Steve Weatherford to donate brains for research

Bills acquire Matt Cassel from Vikings

Report: Free agents ‘leery’ of Chip Kelly after McCoy trade

Report: Steelers hoping Troy Polamalu retires

Nobody’s safe in the NFL and nothing is sacred

Arizona Diamondbacks unveil 'The Churro Dog'

Ray Allen announces he will not play this season

Are the Suns built for the present as well as the future?

Ndamukong $uh billboards springing up all over Detroit

WATCH: Russian youth hockey teams brawl in handshake line

Prince played high school basketball in Minnesota

Thoughts on how the Eagles got to the end of the 'Shady' era

David Wright called out prospect for eating during scrimmage

Murray State pitcher’s leg kick is entirely out of hand

Panthers sign emergency goalie during game due to injuries

Tim Lincecum’s last best chance

NFL News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Nobody’s safe in the NFL and nothing is sacred

Tim Lincecum’s last best chance

Ten most underrated players in the NBA

Stevens: LeBron looks like the MVP

Spiller: EJ Manuel learned not to be 'buddy buddy' with everyone

Ten most underrated NFL free agents

Five potential landing spots for Andre Johnson

Texas-Baylor fight leads to 7 ejections

Mark Cuban will be Prez in 'Sharknado 3'

Report: Redskins interested in Suh

Report: Revis likely to hit free agency

Steve Spurrier joins Twitter

Today's Best Stuff
For Bloggers

Join the Yardbarker Network for more promotion, traffic, and money.

Company Info
Help
What is Yardbarker?

Yardbarker is the largest network of sports blogs and pro athlete blogs on the web. This site is the hub of the Yardbarker Network, where our editors and algorithms curate the best sports content from our network and beyond.