After four years of seeing other names on the NFL’s Hall of Fame Ballot called ahead of his, Richard Seymour finally joined football’s ultimate pantheon after he was formally inducted into Canton’s Pro Football Hall of Fame on Saturday.
“Football may be what I do, but family is who I am,” Seymour said in his Hall of Fame speech. “This day belongs to my family.”
Drafted by New England in 2001, the University of Georgia product was a key contributor to each of the Patriots three championships at the beginning of the 21st Century. Earning All-Pro honors in three straight seasons from 2003 to 2005, “Big Sey”, playing inside and out for New England, quickly became regarded as one of the most versatile and skilled defensive linemen in the league. All while playing at a listed weight of 317-pounds.
Seymour accumulated 225 solo tackles during his 8 seasons in New England but likely would have totaled much more if he wasn’t always so willing to adapt his playing style to fit the Patriots’ defensive needs. Seymour’s willingness to put the team above the individual was present from his first days in Foxboro, as the then-rookie played out of his natural position during the march to New England’s eventual Super Bowl XXXVI victory.
“He played very unselfishly. He played nose-tackle [in 2001] but was a natural defensive end who played 3-technique. [He] played out of position that first year,” Patriots head coach Bill Belichick told NFL Network on Friday. “He was one of the players that very quickly learned the techniques in the National Football League. He very quickly caught on and perfected his pass-rushing techniques and his run techniques to just become a dominant defensive lineman.”
Seymour also credited Belichick and the culture in New England with molding him into the man and player that will join football immortality on Saturday.
“I was talented but I had so much to learn in terms of how to really be a true pro,” Seymour told 7NEWS. “Taking care of my body. All of the things that it took to have longevity. I was fortunate because I was on a veteran team too. All of those things that I learned under Coach Belichick, Romeo Crennel, Pepper Johnson really helped me in my development throughout my career.”
Seymour joins Ty Law as the second Super Bowl-winning Patriot to be enshrined in Canton and the ninth Patriot player overall.
Although Belichick traded Seymour to the Oakland Raiders in 2009, it’s clear the future Hall of Fame head coach still holds his former captain in high regard. When Belichick was asked what made Seymour a special player after his election to the Patriots’ Hall of Fame in 2021, he had a simple response.