Morgan Moses is having a career year, but he almost stepped away from the game altogether before the season began.
The Washington Football Team’s starting right tackle heads into this weekend’s matchup with the Detroit Lions ranked the 23rd overall offensive tackle in the NFL by Pro Football Focus’s grading system. Moses owns a season grade of 77 through the team’s first eight games, on pace for the highest mark of his seven-year career.
However, Moses nearly called it quits several months before the 2020 season began. His father Morris "Big Moe" Moses, Jr. died April 2, which left the Washington lineman grappling with the loss of one of his biggest supporters.
“Conversations with me and my agent, I almost put this thing away after that,” Moses said to NBC Sports Washington’s JP Finlay on the Washington Football Talk podcast. “You’ve been to training camp and you’ve seen my dad out there every day. I didn’t know what to expect going back to Richmond and not seeing him in that chair and things like that. So it was kind of hard, man. I really had to take some time to myself and kind of just redirect that energy.
“I kind of came to like, ‘This is what he would’ve wanted.’ I’m glad I did it because I’m having an unbelievable time with this new staff and just playing football, man. I feel like I have a lot more left to give to the game and I’m just enjoying it.”
Seven months after his father’s death, Moses is halfway through one of the best seasons of his career. He credits the time he spent with his family and a counselor for helping him get through the rough patches before moving forward with his life.
“Just having this offseason to reflect and getting to spend that family time with my kids and just going through the loss of my father with my family, it’s been a great deal but I think it’s also opened up a lot of things in my life where I knew I needed help,” Moses said. “I’ve been able to get that help with things through my counselor and stuff like that. So it’s been a blessing in disguise.”
This season has also marked Moses’s first year under Washington head coach Ron Rivera. Moses got to know the former Chicago Bears linebacker during the 2014 pre-draft process, but he ended up being drafted by Washington in the third round instead of Rivera's Panthers. Now that they share a locker room, Rivera has made an impression on Moses for how he cares about his players both in their NFL careers and beyond.
“I’ve had the pleasure to meet Coach Rivera when I first came out into the draft. I kinda worked out with him often with [former NFL lineman and assistant coach] Ray Brown and it was one of those places where I had on my board — every team has their board — I had on my board, ‘This could be a comfortable fit for me.’ So I’m living in the dream, man, getting to play for a coach that you felt years ago that might be a good fit for you.
“Just what he brings to the table. One thing about Coach Rivera, even through that situation where I lost my father, he was the first person to call me. And at that point we really had no relationship so for your head coach to call you [when] you don’t even have a relationship. But just what he brings to the game as a former player and a head coach. As he’s building us as men on and off the field as well, it’s been a great pleasure these last couple of months being here with that guy.”