Childress: Moss 'was a programmatic non-fit, and it didn't work out'
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EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. -- Brad Childress walked to the podium on Wednesday and summed up the insight he was willing to provide in six words.
"Randy Moss," the Minnesota Vikings' coach said. "It didn't work out."
Childress spent the next 13 minutes or so deflecting question and question about the reasons for waiving Moss on Tuesday, repeatedly saying he's "not going to get into a lot of the particulars. I'm not going to do that. It's done. It's over with. It was a decision that you don't take lightly, but it was a decision that I had to make and it's over."
It was Childress' first appearance in front of reporters since a Monday media conference in which he didn't reveal the pending move, even though he informed players of the decision minutes later. His previous comment on the situation had been limited to a two-sentence statement e-mailed to reporters on Monday night.
Asked on Wednesday why he feels fans don't deserve more of an explanation, Childress said, "Because I wished and hoped that it would have worked out as well, but it was a programmatic non-fit, and it didn't work out. When things don't work out, you need to move quickly to take steps."
The following is an expanded transcript of Childress' back-and-forth with reporters. (Note: the questions are approximated.)
Did you have the support of ownership?
Without getting into all the internal dialogue we have a process that we kind of hold to here and I'm not going give you chapter and verse on the process. But I told my team right after I finished with you folks here (on Monday). I thought it was important to pain a landscape of what Tuesday was going to be like for them, what the rest of the day was going to be like so that they didn't have to come back here Wednesday and deal with that. I owe that to those guys. We're at 52 (players) right now pending any roster move that may occur, but I have faith and confidence in the games remaining and we're the only guys that are going to fix this thing right now."
Why didn't you back up Monday's news conference instead of standing up there and lying?
"Because that's when I usually have my 12:30 press conference. That's from your standpoint, I get that. I'm going to get questions regardless whether they are on point or not on point. I can't control that. I have a 1 o'clock meeting standing with my group, so that's what I end up going to."
But the fans are the ones who will vote on a stadium, and they feel lied to.
"I think as long as the right people are contacted in the right order, I think that that's important. Obviously, it wouldn't have served a purpose to come out here and tell you guys and have you go running with it before the dominoes start to go down."
Why make players answer for your decision?
"That's not why I put them in that situation, to have to answer for my decisions. I have to answer for my decisions. In the long run with ownership, obviously, my name is affixed to wins and losses in this program here. So, it's not an attempt to deceive -- it's just a matter of letting the people know that need to know. And when we came out with the statement, that's when all that had been done. That's why he didn't show up on the waiver wire that day, just because there is a process that's involved."
Did you use the same process in this decision that you normally do, in terms of notifying ownership?
"I go through about the same process about all the time. I talk with Rick (Spielman), I talk with Rob (Brzezinski). I let the owners know. But the thing happened here. I talked to the team, then you let everybody else know what's going on. Actually, Rick was in a meeting.
Did you tell players before ownership?
"No, that's not the case. I'm not going to get into all the process stuff."
How did your investigation of Moss' background before the trade not turn up that this was possible?
"I feel like I do a decent job of looking into guys' backgrounds. People coming off the waiver wire, you attempt to be able to create pieces of the puzzle that you need to know. I think I talked to you guys about all the back channels, the conversations that end up happening in this league. And I'm grateful that we have an organization that has those type of back-channel conversations in place, because there are some that don't have those in place. Yeah, it was a poor decision. I've got to stand up and I have to make it right. When it's not right, you need to make it right."
Is your job in jeopardy?
"I wouldn't know that. I'd say that's up to everybody else to look at. I know that basically it's usually tied to how many wins you have and how many losses you have."
Was this a move made out of desperation to try to get a spark?
"You know, I'm not (desperate). This is probably the most unemotional decision I've made in this job here. Just the matter of fact of what had to happen occurred."
How will this drama affect the team?
"It'd be a good question for them. I know we have to play better football out there. Throw it and run it and tackle better. I'd like to think not."
How'd you get duped knowing his background?
"It's not worth getting into the particulars. I'm not going there."
When did you talk with Randy?
"I didn't end up talking to Randy. I made a number of phone calls that went unanswered, I texted him a few times to get back in touch. In the end, Rick ended up finally getting a conversation with him."
Why'd you say he'd be back Wednesday when you knew otherwise?
"Because 10 days ago, we talked about him going back to New England, to stay there to see his family, to see his 8-year-old -- it wasn't a problem for me. It's the same thing that happened with Brett Favre when we played New Orleans -- he went home after the game and went back with them."
Why did you say on Monday he'd be back here?
"Because that was my intent. That was the pain for him to come back Tuesday night or Wednesday. Actually it was going to be Tuesday night. We talked about that, how he was traveling, how he was getting back."
So you decided in between the press conference and the team meeting?
"No, I can't say that's when I decided. The wheels were in motion in my brain for what had to happen."
Are you in danger of losing this team?
"I don't even know what that means. I really don't. Losing that football team. They're all in there. They're all to a man standing there this morning ready to shake the cobwebs off and get this thing right. That would be a better question to answer by them, not by me. But I'm not even sure what that means: Lose your football team. The Minnesota Vikings are in that locker room and we need to play better and I need to coach better."
How are you holding up emotionally with all this?
"I'm fine. I'm fine. I'm really at peace. The decisions I make are for the best welfare of the Minnesota Vikings. I can look myself in mirror every night when I go to bed and know that in my heart of hearts."
What was your message to the team no Wednesday?
"What I said is we'll be best-served by everybody focusing on the Arizona Cardinals and their job within the context of this game plan and what we need to do to be able to beat that football team that beat us last year that happens to be coming up here this year, that are more than capable of scoring a bunch of points and can be extremely disruptive defensively. That's exactly where we went. We don't need any philosophers, is what I told them. We need realists. It's November 3rd, 2010. We are a 2-5 football team. What do we need to do to pull out of this thing."