In his prime as one of the NFL’s top wide receivers, Randy Moss was often reticent about sitting down for one-on-one interviews.
After 13 dominant seasons as one of the best deep threats in football, Moss announced his August 2011 retirement in a one-sentence statement released by his agent.
No fanfare. No news conference. No farewell speech.
When Moss returned to the NFL after a one-year hiatus and joined the San Francisco 49ers, ESPN bureau reporter Colleen Dominguez requested a sit-down interview. He declined.
“I have done a couple ‘Sunday Conversations’ on SportsCenter with Moss in the past,” Dominguez said. “He’s quite conversational in person. In this case, he told me he just doesn’t want to talk a lot.”
Moss declined several more requests until Dominguez tried a different tack.
“How do you get a ‘yes’ out of a guy who doesn’t often sit for one-on-ones?” Dominguez said.
“You offer to approach rapper Lil Wayne about conducting the interview.”
Moss, a big fan of Lil Wayne’s music, was intrigued.
Dominguez had met the multiple-Grammy winner at the 2011 NBA All-Star Weekend in Los Angeles where Lil Wayne told her of his interest in delving further into sports media.
Recalling the conversation — and with Moss’s interest piqued — she texted Lil Wayne.
“I’m all in,” replied the rapper and renowned lyricist who previously has appeared on ESPN’s popular opinion and debate shows First Take and Around the Horn.
In late October, Moss sat down with Wayne at the 49ers practice facility where the receiver talked about retiring and returning to the NFL, among other topics. The interview, produced by Jonathan Sweet, will air this Sunday, Nov. 11, on ESPN’s Sunday NFL Countdown (10 a.m. – 1 p.m. ET).
“It was beyond an experience to interview The Great Randy Moss,” Lil Wayne said. “I mean I literally felt unworthy but then I found out about how much he respects me and my music, and obviously I have tremendous respect for him as a player but even more as a man.
“Again, (it was) beyond an experience/interview…(it was) more like a mutual conversation between two very interesting people,” he said “One that I’ll never forget.”
The 6-2 Niners begin a two-game homestand this weekend vs. St. Louis, followed by a Monday Night Football appearance against Chicago (Nov. 19, 8:30 p.m., ESPN).
“We’re thrilled to have Lil Wayne interviewing Randy Moss for Countdown. It is unique and different — two icons of our generation just talking football, the pressure of being iconic and why they respect each other,” said Greg Jewell, Countdown‘s coordinating producer.
“Randy is one of those guys who doesn’t speak often. But when he does, you can’t stop listening or watching.”