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Patriots notebook: Belichick responds to Davis

Oakland owner Al Davis had some negative words for the Patriots in the aftermath of Raiders coach Lane Kiffin's firing on Tuesday, claiming New England tampered with Randy Moss prior to the draft day trade in 2007 that brought the record-setting receiver to Foxborough.


Randy Moss addresses the media. AP Photo.

In the midst of his firing of Lane Kiffinon Tuesday, and just moments after his rambling press conference, Raiders owner Al Davistouched on a few Randy Mossissues in off-camera comments with the local media. The aging face of the fallen franchise accused the Patriots of tampering in the team's acquisition of the All-Pro from Oakland for a fourth-round draft pick on draft weekend 2007.

"You know how many teams turned [Moss] down. That guy in Green Bay thought he couldn't run any more. Even Denver, where they'll take anybody, turned him down," Davis said, according to the San Jose Mercury News. "But what's his name knew he could run, he's a friend of [Bill] Belichick's. [Former Oakland Sr. Personnel Executive] Mike Lombardi. Mike sold what's his name, Belichick, on the idea that he could run. They tampered with him. I remember Bob Kraftsaying 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."

For their part, neither Belichick nor Moss had much interest in responding to Davis' claim during media availability at Gillette Stadium on Wednesday. Asked if he'd like to issue a rebuttal, Belichick declined.

"No. I think we will just concentrate on the 49ers," he said during his press conference. "I know there was a lot of stuff going on yesterday but we are just focused on San Francisco."

Belichick chose to expand on those comments a few minutes later, speaking at the conclusion of the press conference exclusively with the Boston Globe.

"I've told the story a hundred times," Belichick said. "The first time I talked to Randy was after I talked to Mr. Davis, Saturday night/Sunday morning before the draft, the second day of the draft. I don't know what this workout is. No idea.

"Like I told Mr. Davis when I talked to him that Saturday night, we were talking about the draft pick. I joked, 'Why don't you send us back the fifth that we gave you for Doug Gabriellast year, and he ended up on your team at the end of the year? If you had any courtesy, you would do that.' We laughed. Some trades work out, some don't."

Asked specifically if the Patriots had any workout with Moss prior to the trade, Belichick told the Globe, "No. The first time I saw Randy in person was when he came in, and when I called him Saturday night after I talked to Mr. Davis. He flew in late Saturday night, got here early Sunday morning."

Moss, who spoke with reporters briefly in the locker room for one of the few times on a non-game day this season, had no comment on the matter.

Mr. Patriot 2.0

Pro Bowl nose tackle Vince Wilforkhas two years remaining on his rookie contract but if he has his way he'll be sticking around New England for much longer than that. In fact, he would like to emulate Troy Brown, who retired last week after 15 years – all spent in a Patriots uniform.

."I'm going to do everything in my power to stay. I'm pretty sure, they're going to do the same thing," Wilfork said. "I love my teammates. I love this organization. I love my coaches. It's very rare when you have somebody that really loves his company in the locker room, where you can sit back and laugh, and just have fun and play football. It's rare."

Despite Wilfork's desire to stay, he said there has been no talk of a new deal or extension.

"I got two more years. That's something I'm not even worried about right now. That'll take care of itself," Wilfork said. "I'm a football player. I signed up for six years. That's what I'm looking to play. If anything happens between now and then, it happens. But I'm looking to play all my six. But I'm happy. I can't get any happier than I am.

"I want to end my career here. I want my football career to end in New England. If they don't know, I'm pretty sure you guys will let them know how much I love it here. I don't want to go anywhere else. When I signed here, the first thing I said in my press conference, 'I want to start a Patriot, and I want to end a Patriot.'

"I'm far from being finished. I got a couple more years before I call it quits," he continued. "I love it here, man. You can't find anybody else that can come in and work, and like their company. Everyone you meet here is unbelievable. I don't have any complaints. None. I can't complain about anything. I'm happy. I'm always smiling. I love to do what I do. Playing football, and having fun with the guys I do battle with every Sunday. That's what I look forward to."

As for Brown, Wilfork considered comparisons to the Patriots all-time receptions leader a compliment of the highest order.

"I hope I can put in as many [years] as he did," he said. "He had a lot of respect for these guys in this lockerr room, upstairs and everywhere. I have the same respect [for him]. Learn from the best. When you have guys like that, showing you the way, leading the way of how to be a person, how to be a teammate, how to be a leader … he left his mark in this locker room. He left his mark on me. He's a good guy to idolize."

Practice update

The Patriots were once again forced inside the Dana Farber Field House due to heavy rains in the Foxborough area. Three players weren't present for the media portion of practice – wide receiver Kelley Washington(ankle), cornerback Lewis Sanders(hamstring) and linebacker Eric Alexander(hamstring). All three were listed on the practice participation report as having missed the workout.

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