Randy Moss wasn't kidding: Spent Sunday in his gold jacket, meeting fans in his native West Virginia

Shalise Manza Young
Yahoo Sports Contributor

During his Pro Football Hall of Fame speech on Saturday night, Randy Moss mentioned his home state of West Virginia and his small, unincorporated hometown of Rand (population: under 1,700) several times.

At one point, he announced he was bringing his gold jacket, the tangible symbol of induction all honorees receive, to West Virginia the next day.

“Meet me at the town center at 4:30!,” he shouted from the podium.

‘Dreams do come true’

The town center, it turns out, is Town Center mall in the capital of Charleston, and Moss had long planned an event to meet and greet the people from his native state and thank them for his support of him over the years. The mall is about 8 miles from Rand.

Randy Moss and his Hall of Fame gold jacket spent part of Sunday in his native West Virginia. (AP)

Just after 4 p.m. Sunday, with hundreds of fans in a line that snaked through the building and led to a riser in the center of the mall, Moss arrived and was introduced by the mayor of the city to a rousing ovation.

“I thank you all for coming out. I said in my speech there’s a lot of y’all kids in here not understanding and not knowing what direction or what path to go in life,” Moss said. “I am a true walking testament. I am from here. We have a lot in common. I wanted to bring this Hall of Fame jacket to the state of West Virginia, to let you know anything you put your heart to, it can happen and dreams do come true.

“I thought it only fair. There’s a lot of other people and other states I could’ve went to, but I think it was right and fair to bring my jacket back to the people, man. I thank y’all for the love and support for coming out. Let’s have a good time.”

Arrived at 5:45 a.m. to get in line

The first person in line was 31-year-old Travis Hayes, who told the Charleston Gazette-Mail he first got Moss’ autograph as a child.

“I just wanted to make sure I had a chance to see him and meet him up close instead of having to watch from the upper level (of the mall),” Hayes said, explaining that he’d arrived at 5:45 a.m. and was first in line when security opened the doors at 8 a.m. “I wanted to guarantee I was going to see him. I’ve been a fan since I was 5 or 6 years old. It’s nice to see him rewarded for his hard work.”

When Hayes was in elementary school and Moss was a rising star at DuPont High School, “I got his autograph on a paper plate. Then I used to come to Watt Powell Park when I was younger and went to a couple of those signings he did, so I’ve met him a few times, but it’s been 10, 15 years now.”

Hayes still has the paper plate, though he wasn’t quite sure where it was and said his father was looking for it.

DuPont has since closed, but Moss’ records will remain.

Moss mostly just shook hands and signed autographs, though one older woman was determined to get a picture, and Moss obliged.

Moss also took off his jacket to drape it over the shoulders of Dakota Wiseman, a member of the West Virginia National Guard who said he is set to be deployed next year.

The line was estimated to be at least 500 people long, and Moss made time for everyone.