GREEN BAY, Wis. -- Vikings receiver Cris Carter says he was insulted when teammate Randy Moss said he only plays "when I want to play."
"When you've been playing as long as I have, and I think my approach to the game, it bothers me," Carter said.
Moss's comments cut especially deep for Carter, a 15-year veteran and one of the best receivers in NFL history who has tried to serve as Moss's mentor since his rookie year in 1998.
"For me, it's more personal. I ask myself the question, 'Is that what you taught him? Or did you teach him something else?"' Carter said.
Carter made his harshest rebuke yet of Moss during a conference call Wednesday in which he also said he's thought about playing for the Green Bay Packers.
Moss has been inconsistent this season after signing an eight-year, $75 million contract earlier this year, though his 78 catches for 1,214 yards and 10 touchdowns still lead the team.
He created a firestorm last month by telling a columnist in Minneapolis that he plays hard only when the spirit moves him.
"I take personal offense to it because that's not the way you approach the game," Carter said. "You play when they make the schedule. When the commissioner gives the schedule, that's when you play."
Vikings coach Dennis Green downplayed Moss' remarks as being said in a joking manner, but Moss himself hasn't backed down and he has even reiterated them during a conference call with reporters in Tennessee earlier this month.
"Some of it, did he mean it? Yes. But some of it did get misconstrued," Carter said. "It was not taken totally out of context, but some of it was asked in the sense of: 'Does Coach Green get you motivated? Do you like playing on Monday Night Football? Do you like playing the Packers? Does Cris have to get on you to make a play? And he said, 'No, I play when I want to play.'
"But then he came back the following week and said he meant what he said," Carter added. "So I couldn't even cover up for it. So, I think you take it personally."
There are times when Moss chooses not to block during run calls.
"That's no excuse," Packers wide receiver Antonio Freeman said. "Sometimes it's a receiver's block downfield that springs the running back. A couple times this year, I was the reason that Ahman (Green) ran 80 yards as opposed to 20."
Carter said maybe Moss is so great a player that he doesn't have to give it his all every snap, but that's disrespectful of the game, other players and the way people in many walks of life approach their work.
"Probably 99 percent of the players in the league have less ability that Randy has," Carter said. "That's just realistic. That kind of athlete, once-in-a-lifetime athlete? For the rest of us, we know we have to give our absolute best to even perform in the NFL, and we know it's not easy."
Carter and Moss could be playing their last two weeks together.
Carter hasn't announced whether he'll retire, return for a 13th season in Minnesota, or test free agency.
Imagine Carter in a Packers uniform.
Carter already has.
"I've thought about it," he said.
That's a notion sure to make fans cringe on both sides of the Minnesota-Wisconsin border, not to mention add spice to the rivalry that resumes Sunday when the Vikings visit Lambeau Field. But if Jerry Rice can go from San Francisco to Oakland, couldn't Carter leave the Metrodome for Titletown?
Asked what it would be like to catch passes from three-time MVP Brett Favre, Carter said he'd rather talk about it after the season.
"It would really ruffle some people or rub people the wrong way right now and I don't want to do that," Carter said. "If it's going to happen, it's going to happen."
Favre said he wasn't sure Carter would be a good fit in Green Bay, where the quarterback doesn't put up with receivers' jawing for the ball the way Carter and Moss are known to do with Daunte Culpepper.
Green said he expected Carter, who has 67 catches for 800 yards and six TDs this year, to either return or retire but not to defect.
"We'd love to have Cris Carter stay," Green said. "He's one of the best players in the game and I think he can still play."
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