HOWARD ULMAN AP Sports Writer FOXBOROUGH, Mass.
Randy Moss joined the Patriots this season determined to avoid off-field problems. Now he's in the middle of one, just days before Sunday's AFC championship game. A temporary restraining order was issued Monday requiring the star wide receiver to stay at least 500 feet from a woman who alleged he committed "battery causing serious injury" to her at her Florida home on Jan. 6. Moss denied the allegation by Rachelle Washington, which he called "this situation of extortion," and said he was "furious" about it. The restraining order was issued in the Broward County 17th Judicial Circuit of Florida. No criminal charge has been brought. A hearing on whether to issue a permanent restraining order is scheduled for 3 p.m. Jan. 28, six days before the Super Bowl. Moss broke his usual midweek silence as he was surrounded by two dozen reporters and 10 videocameras at his locker on Wednesday. He didn't identify the woman but said she has been a friend for 11 years and that she asked for "six figures" for what he said was an accident in which she was hurt. "I want to make something clear," Moss said. "In my whole entire life of living 30 years, I've never put my hand on one woman, physically or in an angry manner." David McGill, the attorney for Washington, had no comment, according to his legal assistant, Melissa Miller. A telephone message left by The Associated Press with Moss' attorney, Jim DiPiero, was not immediately returned. In his previous nine seasons - seven with Minnesota and two with Oakland - Moss was involved in several off-field incidents. "This is a negative," he said of the latest allegation, "a black cloud hanging over my head, and that's something that I did not want coming into the season. ... Everything I tried to do from getting here early, to make sure I eat the right food, all the way to practicing and playing, I wanted all of that to be A-plus. "Everything's been positive, so why would I bring something negative on. As much as I care and love the game of football and love my teammates, I would never put myself or them in a situation of something like this." With the Vikings, he was criticized by quarterback Daunte Culpepper and others for leaving the field with 2 seconds left in a regular-season loss to Washington. He bumped a traffic control officer with his car in 2002, verbally abused corporate sponsors on a team bus in 2001 and squirted an official with a water bottle in 1999. On draft day last April, the Patriots sent a 2007 fourth-round draft choice to Oakland for Moss, who has avoided off-field problems this season and been hailed by Patriots players as an excellent teammate and leader. Undefeated New England plays the San Diego Chargers in the AFC championship game in Foxborough on Sunday, thanks in part to Moss, who was named to the All-Pro team. During the season he caught 98 passes for 1,493 yards and 23 touchdowns, breaking Jerry Rice's single-season mark of 22. He had one catch in Saturday night's 31-20 playoff win over Jacksonville, which resorted to double and triple coverage on him. Washington alleged Moss refused to allow her to seek medical treatment. "She has her own house. She has her own car," Moss said. "So how am I going to deny someone medical attention when you live by yourself and have your own vehicle?" He said the allegation will not distract him in Sunday's game against the San Diego Chargers. "Last Friday, this man wanted to come out with it," Moss said, apparently referring to someone siding with Washington, "Just to try to distract the team and distract me. "There was much more said, a lot of verbal, a lot of cuss words, a lot of things that I should be doing. You better do this or else. ... Well, I thought it was bad because now you're threatening me, so I brought it to coach." He said Patriots coach Bill Belichick told him to focus on football. "They're false allegations, something I've been battling for like the last couple of days of threats going public if I didn't pay X amount of dollars," Moss said. "So before people rush quick to judgment, I think you need to find out the facts about, really, what's going on. "This young lady by no means is hurt. I didn't hurt her." Two teammates voiced support for Moss. "I don't know the situation," linebacker Tedy Bruschi said. "He's a teammate of mine so by me saying he's a teammate of mine, it's almost me saying he's a family member." "I don't think any of that situation is going to be on the field for us on Sunday so it doesn't bother me," running back Kevin Faulk said. "He's our teammate, He's like a brother." Moss said athletes are targets for false allegations. "It's very unfair to athletes if a person makes a false claim. You know, there's nothing that we can do," Moss said. "The only thing that we can do is either pay up or sit back and listen to what's being said or what's being written. "For someone to make a false claim about me, I'm kind of furious. It kind of hurts me deep inside for someone to do something like that because, you know, I've always said time and time again, I'm going to stand up for what's right. If I'm right, I'm right. If I'm wrong, I'm wrong." Moss faced misdemeanor charges after a 1996 fight with the mother of his daughter, but they were dropped after both agreed to counseling. He was asked if he thought people would believe his current denial. "I think the best thing is to check my resume, ask around," Moss said. "I've never hit a woman. I do not hit women.