Early titles with Patriots lead to the Hall of Fame for Seymour

Early titles with Patriots lead to the Hall of Fame for Seymour

Hall Of Fame Seymour Football (Copyright 2022 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)

Hall Of Fame Seymour Football (Copyright 2022 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)

Richard Seymour was winning the Super Bowl with the New England Patriots before, as he put it, Tom Brady was Tom Brady.

The defensive linesman’s initial success – three leagues in his first four seasons – is a good starting point for how Seymour ended up in the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

“We would have a saying with the Patriots that the stats can be for the underdogs,” Seymour said. “I’ve been asked to do selfless things.”

Seymour had 57 career layoffs and a half in 12 seasons, his first eight in New England before ending his career with the Oakland Raiders.

His three All-Pro seasons were two more than each of the other two Hall of Famers classified as defensive end and tackle: Chicago’s Dan Hampton and San Francisco’s Bryant Young.

The Patriots, in fact, won with the defense when Seymour was a rookie in 2001, the year in which Brady became a starter. New England became one of the top 10 defenses that year, so they held the “Greatest Show on Turf” without touchdown in the fourth quarter of the Super Bowl before beating the St. Louis Rams 20-17 on Adam Vinatieri’s field goal.

New England missed the playoffs in 2002 before winning the next two Super Bowls, against Carolina and Philadelphia. Dallas is the only other franchise to have won three Super Bowls in four seasons (1992-95).

Seymour, who is set for coronation in Canton, Ohio on Saturday, is the second player outside those New England defenses to enter the Hall of Fame after cornerback Ty Law.

Those three titles were for Seymour, Law and the rest of that group of New England defenders, while 44-year-old Brady is at seven and possibly counting, most recently with Tampa Bay. But Seymour and the company get credit for their part in the foundation.

“Those first three Super Bowls were all defensive teams,” Seymour said. “I think for us the change really started right after. And that’s when Brady really became Brady. And then he really took off. Offense sells, so I understand it perfectly. But those first teams were led by the defense ”.

The sixth overall pick from Georgia in 2001 after growing up in South Carolina, Seymour played on and off for the Patriots before spending most of his time on defensive tackle with the Raiders.

Listed at over 300 pounds in its game days, Seymour fit the mold of the run stopper more than the pass rusher. The only mold he cared about was winning.

“I think my story is an impact story because it was selfless and was about the team and being a competitor,” Seymour said. “The bigger picture for me is as long as the team appreciated what I was bringing to the table and showed it in terms of contracts and that sort of thing. I knew they liked me and told me they liked me. “

Tennessee manager Mike Vrabel, yet another of those defenses as a linebacker, saw the value when he joined the Patriots as a free agent the same year Seymour was drafted.

“I was in my fifth year, but really, boy, I hadn’t done much in the league. So we were starting for the first time in the NFL, “said Vrabel.” I just remember, just his size, his length, his power. This was a smart player who could recognize things, he said, “Hey, let’s do it.” . I said, ‘OK, yeah, that’s a great idea.’ “

Smart enough to ignore homework? Seymour thought so when he was a rookie and defensive coordinator Romeo Crennel gave all first year players something to study overnight.

Seymour ignored similar assignments in Georgia and thought he could do the same in the pros. Until Crennel called him the next day.

“He snatched a new one from me that day in front of all the other rookies,” Seymour said. “And I was the kid in the first round. So I think with him snatching me from all the other draft picks, he really set the tone for everyone in terms of expectations. I realized that, ‘OK, I think I have to study when I get to the championship.’ “

The misstep did not slow Seymour’s path to becoming a leader at the start of New England’s two-decade dynasty. He couldn’t bring the same success to the Raiders after a 2009 trade, but the legacy was enough for a call from Canton.

“He brought about behavior. He brought an attitude, “Vrabel said.” He kept pushing the boys, even as a young man he pushed the boys. He had the ability and confidence enough to push the boys who were maybe sixth or seventh and maybe second or third year”.


AP Pro Football writer Teresa M. Walker contributed.


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