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Moss Rolling To NBA?

Randy Moss would love to join Deion Sanders, Michael Jordan and Bo Jackson as two-sport athletes.

On Wednesday, Moss confirmed his interest in playing NBA basketball on the side. But last season's offensive rookie of the year said he'd like to try his hand at pro basketball after he's mastered football.

That could come as early as the second half of this NBA season or maybe not for several years, he said.

"I don't really want to concentrate on nothing basketball until these football things get settled," Moss said Wednesday in his first comments on the matter.

Moss, who played in high school with Sacramento Kings guard Jason Williams and was twice named West Virginia's Mr. Basketball, sees the NBA in his future.

"No doubt. That's something I like to do is play basketball. So, instead of going out there playing recreation, why not see if I can try my skills out on another level?" Moss said. "But like I said, it could be two years from now, three years from now. It could be the end of this season."

If the Vikings have any reservations about Moss playing hoops, they're keeping it to themselves.

General manager Tim Connolly said he wouldn't stand in Moss' way if he wanted to display his electrifying athletic skills in the NBA, where he'd miss about half the season if the Vikings go deep into the playoffs.

Coach Dennis Green said Moss will do as he pleases.

"Pros can do what they want to do in the offseason," Green said. "We don't have any restrictions on our players at all. We don't operate that way. I think Deion Sanders has proven that if a guy is good enough and somebody wants you and you want to do something else in the offseason, you'll do it."

"And that's part of the new era, that's the new entertainment business."

Still, the Vikings have reason to worry about Moss playing basketball.

Moss sprained his ankle doing just that two days before the team's May minicamp after he was drafted last year. He sat out the camp and, according to Green, the injury hampered Moss's play his entire rookie season, which was nonetheless spectacular.

Last year, Moss signed a four-year, $4.4 million contract that's expected to be torn up after this season. But Connolly said that despite the increased chance of injury, any new deal for Moss won't include language discouraging Moss from pursuing a pro basketball career on the side.

Last weekend, Minnesota Timberwolves coach Flip Saunders said one of Moss' representatives contacted him to float the idea of Moss playing alongside Kevin Garnett at some point.

The 6-foot-4 All-Pro wide receiver, who has played pickup games against NBA players in the offseason, said he had no idea what position he'd play in the NBA.

"Ain't no telling. Ain't no telling," Moss said. "I just want to see if I can play."

But Moss seems like he already knows the answer.

"From a competitive side, I think I'd probably match up with the best of them," he said. "But athletically, going out there, I'm a shade under 6-4 and the average height might be 6-6 so, you know, it'll be hard. But I'll probably take that challenge on."

©1999 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed

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