Receiver Santana Moss still putting up the numbers for Washington Redskins offense

The Redskins' Santana Moss needs just one reception Sunday against the New York Giants to set a career high for a season.
The Redskins' Santana Moss needs just one reception Sunday against the New York Giants to set a career high for a season. (John Mcdonnell/the Washington Post)
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Washington Post Staff Writer
Friday, December 31, 2010; 12:14 AM

In any given week, Santana Moss will leave the football stadium on Sunday and begin prepping for a week of non-stop bodywork.

He'll see his masseuse twice and will make two visits to a chiropractor. He'll spend nights resting in a hyperbaric chamber in his home, receiving oxygen treatments, and he even flies in a personal trainer from Atlanta each week - "a specialist when it comes to muscles," Moss said.

"When you was younger, you didn't have to have massages, you didn't have to see chiropractors," said the 31-year-old Moss. "Now you just throw that in your regimen, and say, 'Well, this is what keeps me going.' So you pay a little more just to play."

It's paid off thus far. Moss enters Sunday's season finale against the New York Giants with 84 catches, just one shy of a new career high for a single season. Last week at Jacksonville, he topped the 1,000-yard mark for the fourth time in his 10-year career. He's been one of the few bright spots in an otherwise stagnant Washington Redskins offense.

"I had a lot of respect before I came here for Santana," said quarterback Rex Grossman, "but now getting the chance to play with him, he's an amazing player, the way he can separate from defenders. He's got great hands. He runs great routes. He's everything I thought he was and more. He's a really, really good receiver."

No one questions Moss's ability or his role in the Redskins' offense. But his future isn't quite as clear. After six seasons in Washington, Moss is scheduled to become an unrestricted free agent. While he's been given no assurances, Moss says he hopes to return to the Redskins and get a chance to grow in a second year in Mike Shanahan's offense.

"I don't feel like leaving is going to help me win games somewhere else. I feel that when somewhere that you are comfortable with, that you feel like you can play, and your family can live and, you know, you can raise your family and live comfortably, and play a great game, and play at a high level," Moss said, "you know, why leave?"

The Redskins have found a way to make Moss as effective as ever, despite his age. Offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan knew long before he arrived in Washington that Moss was a superb receiver. He said he didn't realize Moss was such a good football player, though.

"He's tough, he's physical, he doesn't shy away from contact," Kyle Shanahan said. "I think he's done a hell of a job for us."

But after reviewing film of Moss's previous seasons, Shanahan also thought he could take better advantage of Moss's skills. Moss, who at 5 feet 9 is short and quick, made his name as a college receiver at the University of Miami lining up in the slot. But since entering the NFL in 2001, he's lined up almost exclusively on the outside. This season, Shanahan moved Moss back to the slot and gave him a variety of inside passing routes.

"When you got guys who are not the tall, lanky guys, their legs are always under them, so they can cut a little better than most people," Shanahan said. "They can get to the top of the routes, stick out both feet, go both directions. You give guys like that a two-way go. It's tough to cover them. When you got a guy who's got that quickness, that talent, has the hands he does, has got football awareness - he's not scared. He can be a special player in there."

While Moss doesn't necessarily think he was playing out of position before as a flanker, he recognizes the benefits of lining up in the slot, where he's facing more linebackers than quicker safeties.

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