Sio Moore saga more complex than first glance will show
Sio Moore is a man of many faces.
Recently traded to the Colts for a sixth-round pick, Moore was going through a relatively longstanding rift with Oakland’s new coaches.
A large part of that is understandable, especially for a linebacker such as Moore. There’s a lot of things the general public doesn’t know about Moore, some of them mundane details, but likely interesting nonetheless.
Part of the rift may have originated long before head coach Jack Del Rio and defensive coordinator Ken Norton Jr. arrived with the Raiders.
A lot of it was going on when Jason Tarver was defensive coordinator.
Moore could be seen in the locker room knocking some tunes on a microscopic, yet powerful, speaker that he’d leave connected to his phone.
This happening while other linebackers were in team meetings. It was so common that it’s hard to believe it was without Tarver’s permission. This is a simple presumption, and Sio nor Tarver are with the Raiders anymore.
But it’s the only logical explanation for why Moore would be in the locker room during these times, while other’s were in meeting rooms.
I also have extreme trouble believing that Moore would still be starting a few days after bailing from a team meeting while other linebackers were there. There’s no way that would go down in any NFL organization. He must have been excused.
It also doesn’t make sense that he would be retained by McKenzie for that long, unless Tarver allowed it. It really doesn’t make sense because Moore had been playing at a decent level, with lots of promise for his football future.
That’s the conclusion I draw from the ultimate departure of Moore, and how it seemed. But there are more details, that don’t necessarily matter in the big picture, but that Moore and the team are best served with the knowledge of the public:
1. Moore would arrive, and leave, wearing pajama pants. While players like James Jones preferred track suits, and others such as Khalil Mack usually dressed in jeans and a polo, Moore came to work like he had just rolled out of bed.
2. Moore displayed what I interpreted as narcissistic tendencies, often the result of suppressed depression. I believe that Moore had trouble fitting in with crowds early in life, and throughout his life, though he’d never mentioned it before. He was comfortable with one-on-one interviews when we spoke, but never in a gaggle.
3. He remained confident in his teammates throughout two very bad seasons. His fiery personality never seemed to spill over in a bad manner within the Raiders locker room.
4. An example of this, sometime late in the 2014 season, Moore found himself in disagreement with the rest of his nearby lockermates. He was the only player who considered Walter Payton the greatest running back of all time. The rest, including myself in this particular instance, opined that Barry Sanders gets the crown.
5. Other names mentioned include Emmitt Smith (who was faulted for having a premier offensive line), O.J. Simpson, and Jim Brown. It’s unfair, really, to crown Sanders with all this greatness. But Moore loves him some ‘Sweetness.’
Moore got along with the fellas, and was typically in the middle of it all when jokes were being flung around. He is a happy-go-lucky person. And Stevie Wonder could see that.
6. Moore was always the most energetic player on the Raiders practice field, or in the locker room. The guy couldn’t stop moving. Call it attention deficit disorder, call it being outworked and simply less tired. It’s tough to deny that he’d help pick up others when they were tired. There’s no questioning that.
Moore carried qualities that were very unique, particularly when discussing an NFL linebacker. He was much more little kid than he was grown man, and it showed in his demeanor.
In most settings, that’s welcomed. But entering the third year of his professional career, and with incoming coaches tasked with winning immediately, he just didn’t fit well enough. Factor in major hip surgery, and no promise that he’d return to his old form, and that’s not going to work.
He also called a reporter a loser on Twitter for tweeting he was back on Twitter. As a fan favorite tweeter, and a fan favorite on Sunday, Moore should have known the reporter meant no harm.
Especially with an understanding that he was in the doghouse. He earned everything he got. That includes his meager by NFL standards third round rookie paycheck, his time in the doghouse, and his trade.
Frankly, it worked out for him. As much as Raiders fans might not want to acknowledge it, he’s on a team looking at the Super Bowl before the season starts.
It’s not too far-fetched to consider a healthy and productive Moore the missing piece to a Colts team that desperately lacks defense to be a true contender.
He’s earned that, too. But if he wants to continue a road like that, and the potential of being a highly coveted free agent, he’s going to have to mature some. Maybe a lot.
He’ll have to unplug his phone from the portable speaker, and change his life’s tune.
Jason Leskiw is SFBay’s Oakland Raiders beat writer and member of the Professional Football Writers of America. Follow @SFBay and @LeskiwSFBay on Twitter and at SFBay.ca for full coverage of the Oakland Raiders.