WASHINGTON — When Santana Moss hears the criticism about second-year Redskins receiver Josh Doctson, it has a familiar ring.
Moss, the 16th overall pick in 2001, played in only five games his rookie year for the Jets, catching all of two passes for 40 yards. By the end of his sophomore campaign, he’d increased his productivity by tenfold, and crossed the thousand-yard milestone his third season in the league.
Doctson, still struggling to get on the field, has yet to be so lucky. Washington’s first-round pick in 2016, Doctson played in Weeks 1 and 2 of his rookie season before missing the next 14 games with strained Achilles tendons.
One week into the 2017 season, he’s limited in practice with a hamstring injury, and head coach Jay Gruden is growing impatient.
“I promise you, when I sit and hear some of the things that’s going on with him, it’s like deja vu,” Moss told Chad Dukes on 106.7 The Fan. “I’ve been down this road. I hope he listens. I send little kites to him through other players, like, ‘Man, just stay on it. Stay positive. Stay on your body.'”
“We understand what the training room does for us,” he said. “But I was told by Curtis Martin, Mo Lewis, Marvin Jones — those guys — in my first years, ‘You have to pay to play.’
“And what they meant by that is spend money on your body, because that’s going to get you more money, and that’s what I did. When I got a chance to really realize what they were talking about, I just started putting money into my body and 14 years later, I was still able to go out there and give it another three. You heard me? Another three if they wanted it!”
Many wonder if Doctson lacks the mental fortitude to be an impact for the Redskins. To that, Moss says, “If you’re questioning my manhood, you’re questioning how tough I am… if I should even be here, then I’m gonna have to suck it up. I’ve got to go out and do what I have to do.”
“I’ve been there,” he added. “I was so pissed off how my career started in New York, to where I’d hear all the stuff that I’ve been hearing about [Doctson]. ‘Oh, he don’t want to play.’
“I couldn’t, I had a knee. I had something a little serious that sat me down. When I got back, I had the hamstring, I had the quads. But it all comes with the territory.”
“You’re sitting up and you don’t know what to do next,” he said. “So I had to swallow it sometimes. I mean, I didn’t want to go out there and put bad stuff on film, but I had to just be out there.”
“And when I found out that I can play through some of this stuff, when I found out that maybe a 60-percent Santana is still better than not being out there at all,” he said, “my teammates, they started looking at me a little different and started saying, ‘This kid is showing us that, even though he’s hurt — you can tell he’s hurt, because he’s not running like he ran when we first saw him — but by him being out there and showing up, that’s giving us enough confidence to know that, hey, he’s gonna rock with us.'”
“And when they saw the me that I wanted to be,” he added, “they knew that, ‘No doubt. This guy’s back.'”