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With Randy Moss as his father, Thaddeus Moss seemed to have a shortcut to NFL success. On draft day, however, no teams came calling. Once the dust had cleared, the young tight end had to hammer out a deal as an undrafted free agent, joining the Washington Redskins. Now we understand a bit more of his thought process.

In a recent video call, Moss explained that he also received offers from the New England Patriots and the Cincinnati Bengals. One simple reality, however, pushed him to sign with Washington.

Thaddeus Moss’ road to the NFL

Despite his impressive pedigree, Thaddeus Moss’ high school football career was interrupted by content transfers. While he showed enough potential to earn some big-time offers, that trend would continue in college.

Moss started his NCAA career at North Carolina State but didn’t see a great deal of action for the Wolfpack. He appeared in six games as a freshman, catching six passes for 49 yards and a touchdown, before deciding to look for greener pastures. The tight end then transferred to LSU, hoping to try his luck in the SEC.

In Louisiana, however, things got off to a slow start. Moss’ transfer kept him out of the 2017 season; he spent all of 2018 on the sidelines, too, after struggling with a foot injury. Once the tight end finally hit the field alongside Joe Burrow, however, he made an impact, pulling in 47 catches for 570 yards and four touchdowns.

On the back of that campaign, Moss entered the NFL draft. He didn’t receive rave reviews—’s scouting profile highlighted his run blocking rather than his athleticism and pegged him as a back-up—and ultimately ended up as an undrafted free agent.

How the Redskins literally won the race for Thaddeus Moss

Ideally, the NFL draft represents one of the best moments in a football player’s life. For Thaddeus Moss, however, that dream turned into a nightmare.

“I put a lot of work in, years of football we went undefeated and won a national championship [last season at LSU], and I played my best ball in my biggest games, so I definitely felt it was a slap in the face not getting drafted [and] having kickers and punters and special teams guys getting picked over me,” he remembered, according to the Washington Post. That harsh reality, however, led him to sign with the Redskins.

After the draft wrapped up, the tight end’s agent called with news that three teams—the Redskins, the Patriots, and the Bengals—were looking to work out a deal. Moss wasn’t interested in the specifics of the offer, though. He simply wanted to know which team had reached out first. That proved to be the Redskins, and the rest is history.

“That’s what I was going to go with and stick with,” Moss simply explained.

If nothing else, the Washington Redskins have a motivated player

Despite his famous last name, it’s not clear how Thaddeus Moss’s game will translate to the NFL. Even if he doesn’t live up to his father’s star status, though, the Washington Redskins have a motivated player on their hands.

While Moss insisted nothing has been handed to him based on his name, you don’t make it to the NFL without having supreme confidence in your own abilities. Going undrafted could have dented that confidence, but, in this case, it seems to have light a fire under the young tight end.

The NFL combine scouting report may have found plenty of flaws in Thaddeus Moss’ game, but it did list one crucial strength: “Plenty of room to grow and get better as a player.” That trait, combined with this spring’s “slap in the face” could help the tight end reach his full potential, whatever it may be.

“I’ve always had to prove myself my whole life,” Moss explained on his introductory conference call. “Having the last name that I’ve had, I’ve always had to prove everybody wrong or just prove myself right my whole life, and this is no different.”

All stats courtesy of Sports Reference