For weeks, the veteran punter worried whether the Buffalo Bills would want him back.
He was buoyant by Friday afternoon.
While he and his wife prepared to take their 4-year-old son sledding, Moorman stopped for a few moments to imagine punting for Buffalo in the 2014 playoffs and express his gratitude.
The Bills re-signed Moorman to a one-year contract.
“I have no doubt in my mind this team is on the rise and has every intention of ending this playoff drought in 2014 and playing now instead of watching other teams play,” Moorman said before heading out into the snow.
“I think things are moving in the right direction, and this year will be the year.”
Moorman, a two-time Pro Bowler, is a fan favorite from one of the Bills’ darkest eras. The Bills haven’t made the playoffs in 14 years, two seasons before Moorman arrived.
Punters rarely are considered so popular. His consistency, athleticism (two passing touchdowns, some nifty fake-punt scrambles) and community service have given him Western New York star status.
But Moorman will turn 38 next month, and he had a disappointing season. He was unsure he would return.
“Anybody who has played football, if you ask them when they’re in junior high what their dream is, it’s to play in the NFL,” Moorman said. “I have the opportunity to continue to live my dream for another year. I’m thankful for that.
“When you’re not sure if the end is here and then get the opportunity to keep going, it puts you back up on cloud nine.”
Friday’s re-signing brings back Moorman for a second time after the club booted him from its roster.
The Bills released Moorman three games into the 2012 season to sign rookie Shawn Powell. The team grew dissatisfied with Powell this season and switched back to Moorman in Week Six.
Moorman this season ranked 32nd in gross average at 41.2 yards a punt and 31st in net average at 36.6 yards.
Moorman suggested those numbers would get better over a full offseason of work with special-teams coordinator Danny Crossman, long-snapper Garrison Sanborn and the Bills’ gunners.
“That’s a huge positive, having the ability to do that,” Moorman said. “There’s room for improvement everywhere, and I’m ready for it.”
Moorman spent last offseason with the Pittsburgh Steelers and was cut during the preseason.
The Bills likely will bring in competition for Moorman throughout the offseason and training camp.
“They’re going to bring in competition for everybody,” Moorman said. “That’s the philosophy they have, and that’s a good philosophy. I think having competition makes people better.
“I’ve got to earn a spot just like everybody else. I’m comfortable with that.”
Moorman and Shane Lechler are the only active punters and are among the 23 in NFL history who’ve played at least 200 games.
Moorman has played 202 games, 190 with the Bills. He holds club records for total punts and punts inside the 20-yard line.