When first-year eligibles for the Pro Football Hall of Fame’s Class of 2018 are touted, you rarely hear the name Richard Seymour. There’s a lot of Ray Lewis and Brian Urlacher. Randy Moss, of course. Steve Hutchinson and Ronde Barber, too.
But rarely Richard Seymour.
Yet the former defensive lineman is a first-team all-decade choice from the 200os, so here’s a suggestion: You better start considering him.
And we did on the latest Talk of Fame Network broadcast, asking the former New England and Oakland star how he would … if he could … present himself next year as a Hall-of-Fame worthy candidate.
“Obviously,” he said, “I could make a case for myself. I never really played personally for (the Hall) … (but) trust me, when I look at the Hall of Fame, that is a very prestigious group that I think all players have a total respect for. That’s the ultimate individual accomplishment that a player can have; to be considered amongst the best in the history of the game. And it’s something that, as a player, I always held in high regard.
I just wanted to be known and considered as one of the best to ever do it.
“To play at a high level over the course of a decade definitely is very, very hard to do. For myself, what I wanted to do was (not only) play at a high level but also impact the guys around me and make their jobs easier to do, whether it was the linebackers, whether outside linebacker next to me (or someone else), I wanted to take up guys. And I was OK with them getting the sacks or stats or whatever the case may be, as long as we had the (W) at the end of the column.”
Seymour played eight seasons with the Patriots, winning three Super Bowls in four years, before he was dealt to Oakland. He was named to seven Pro Bowl teams, both as a defensive tackle and defensive end, and five times was an All-Pro.
Considered one of the best defensive linemen of his era, Seymour was as versatile as he was valuable. He played inside and out, on every down, with multiple fronts and in virtually all situations. What’s more, he sometimes even served as a fullback.
He finished his career with 57.5 sacks, but, as Patriots’ coach Bill Belichick noted, “most guys wouldn’t have had 20 playing that (defensive tackle) position” in New England. And though the total may seem low, consider that Seymour’s career numbers are a half-sack less than Hall-of-Fame defensive tackle Cortez Kennedy (58).
“At the end of the day, for me it was always about wins and losses,” said Seymour, “and that mindset came from coach Belichick.
“As a player, I always said, ‘Personally, I don’t ever want to be taken off the field. Whether it’s a 3-4 (defense) 4-3, I want to be an every down player, and I want to have impact. I want to be the type of guy where they didn’t have to get a run stopper; they didn’t have to go get a pass rusher and pay all these guys all these different amounts.’ I always felt like well, why don’t you just give it to me, and I’ll take care of it?
“As a player, it pulls so much from you, but that was my mindset. I really didn’t care about the money. My whole deal was: I just wanted to be known and considered as one of the best to ever do it.”