Randy Moss chose to retire from the NFL a couple of weeks ago after experiencing difficulty finding suitors willing to offer him a multi-year contract. He was not interested in signing a one year deal. The decision to retire at this point in his career is representative of the legacy that he has left us with: someone who just wasn’t interested in putting in the extra work or dealing with the additional pressure to become the greatest wide receiver in the history of Football.
Jerry Rice echoed the same sentiments just a couple days ago. He noted that Moss had far greater physical gifts and talents than he, yet Moss didn’t put in the effort to become the best. Truthfully, Moss admitted to this long ago when he said, “I play when I want to play.” That a person who never stopped trying to improve himself has difficulty understanding that someone with even more talent isn’t motivated to become the greatest, is understandable.
But let’s not over-exaggerate: Moss will go down as one of the greatest wide receivers to play the game. He amassed the 5th most total receiving yards in history and made some of the most spectacular catches we have seen. He is a surefire first ballot Hall of Famer.
However, Moss didn’t reach his potential. He could have broken every record if he wanted to. But he chose to play the game his way and will have to live the rest of his life saying, “what if?” He’s not the first, nor will he be the last guy to under-perform. Indeed, Moss comes from a long line of human beings that never lived up to their full potential.
One of the first group of people that didn’t live up to their full potential were Nadab and Abihu. Our sages tell us that they were primed to become the next leaders after Moses and Aaron. In fact, we are told that their potential for greatness exceeded that of their father and uncle. Yet, they became distracted. Their heart wasn’t always in the right place; they were anxiously awaiting their opportunity to become the new leaders and paid the ultimate price of death when they brought a “strange” offering to the Temple without permission. Their potential for greatness was tremendous, but they lost focus and forget about the long process of hard work, learning, and experience that it takes to become great.
May we always strive to work our hardest and become the best in our respective careers. May we be remembered more for our work ethic than our achievements, thereby showing everyone that hard work and dedication, and not sheer talent, reap the greatest rewards.