Richard Seymour proudly displayed difference ‘between stats and impact’

Andy Hart
May 11, 2020 - 4:15 pm
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In many ways, Richard Seymour had a storybook career in New England.

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The first-round pick won the Super Bowl to close out his rookie season, his first of three rings. He earned Pro Bowl (5) and All-Pro (3) honors in his eight seasons in Foxborough. Along the way he earned tens of millions of dollars.

He -- as owner Robert Kraft said in release announcing Seymour as the 28th player to be inducted into the Patriots Hall of Fame later this summer – “laid the foundation for a defense that helped propel the Patriots” to those three Super Bowl titles that marked the first era of the New England dynasty.

Seymour did it all from the trenches along the defensive line, drawing double teams all along the front while putting up good but not eye-popping, attention-seeking numbers. He had 39 sacks over eight years, never more than eight in a season. He averaged 40-50 tackles annually.

“I think there is a difference between stats and impact, having your impact on the game and imprint of offensive coordinators having to play against you,” Seymour declared Monday afternoon in a WebEx with local reporters discussing his Hall honor. “So I think I’ve earned that. I’ve talked to a lot of offensive linemen throughout the years and earned their respect. So I think that goes a long way not only with the Patriots Hall of Fame, but down the road hopefully with the Pro Football Hall of Fame. It’s all a blessing and an honor.”

Seymour acknowledged that not yet being in the Patriots Hall of Fame may have hurt his chances as a Pro Football Hall of Fame finalist over the last couple seasons, inferring that may have caused some writers to delay voting for him or Canton.

“I’m in now,” Seymour declared. “It’s a tremendous honor.”

During the call Seymour was asked to look back almost 20 years to his arrival in New England as the No. 6 overall pick in the draft out of Georgia, targeted as a possible 3-4 end in Bill Belichick’s budding defense.

“I remember when I was being recruited out of Georgia, I remember the scout Lionel Vital came to Georgia he was telling my about the 3-4 defense and was asking me if I could do it? At that point I didn’t even know what a 3-4 defensive end was, to be honest, but I was like ‘Yeah, I can do it,’” Seymour recalled. “Obviously you go back and you look at Coach Belichick and what he’s meant to defense and to be drafted by him says a lot. I just wanted to come in and absorb as much information as I could. I knew I was coming to at that time a veteran team. Like I said, I was in really good hands with Coach Belichick, with [defensive coordinator] Romeo Crennel and all of the coaches there. They really made the transition super easy for me.”

And Seymour was indeed Super successful, literally becoming the prototype for the position while helping lead the Patriots to Super Bowl glory for the first time in the organization’s history.

“Coach Belichick, we always talked about, building a team has to be built from the inside out. I was just enthused that they chose me to be a part of trying to change some of the history that was going on,” Seymour said. “Like I said, it’s a tremendous honor and to be a part of the foundation of the Super Bowl run and the dynasty and the championships, it’s really not for me. You think about so many other people that have helped to get you where you are. So this is just paying respects to them as well.

While Seymour’s storybook time in New England game to an abrupt end when Belichick traded him to the Raiders prior to the 2009 season in exchange for a first-round pick, the newest Hall of Famer said neither that nor well-documented contract battles with the Patriots over the years left any lasting hard feelings. He called Belichick “second to none” among coaches and praised the entire Patriots “organization that’s built the right way” and a “champion doing things the right way.”

“[Late Oakland owner] Al Davis said he traded for me, so that’s the way I look at it,” Seymour said with a deep laugh. “At the end of the day, the amount of respect that I had for Coach Belichick and still have to this day…it’s a difference between business and your personal life. Personally it was always a ton of respect. Coach Belichick would always send a Christmas gift to the kids and little things like that. In terms of the business side of it, that’s just the business of the NFL. We saw that this year with all the guys. That’s a part of it. I don’t have any hard feelings or anything like that. That’s just a part of the way the NFL works. So it may have seemed like there was some tension or something, but in my mind it’s no hard feelings. We talk when we see each other. He’ll shoot me a text. The team was here in Atlanta for the Super Bowl. I was with the team.

“So all is well.”

Yes it is. Seymour is taking his rightful spot in the Patriots Hall of Fame. And if all continues to go well, he’ll be doing the same in Canton in the not-too-distant future.

Because on the football field, stats don’t always tell the story but impact is inarguable.

Richard Seymour proved that as in arguably one of the greatest defensive lineman in both Patriots and NFL history.

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