Richard Seymour’s excellence has been lost in time by New England Patriots fans and the Pro Football Hall of Fame selection committee.
Seymour was snubbed by the Hall of Fame as a second-year finalist Saturday.
I respect the process…2021 https://t.co/A2n25wP3Kr
— Richard Seymour (@BigSey93) February 1, 2020
Somehow, Seymour also has yet to be voted into the Patriots Hall of Fame by fans.
That’s despite the fact that Seymour probably was the Patriots’ best overall player on their early dynasty teams and definitely their top defender. He was voted a first-team All-Pro from 2003 to 2005. Cornerback Ty Law was a first-team All-Pro just twice in 1998 and 2003, and kicker Adam Vinatieri earned the honor in 2002 and 2004. Quarterback Tom Brady wasn’t named a first-team All-Pro until 2007. Linebacker Mike Vrabel and offensive tackle Matt Light only were first-team All-Pros in 2007 and safety Rodney Harrison only was first-team in 2003. Linebacker Tedy Bruschi, running back Kevin Faulk, wide receiver Troy Brown and linebacker Willie McGinest were never first-team All-Pros.
Yet, Brown, Bruschi, Law, McGinest, Faulk, Light and Harrison all made the Patriots hall before Seymour. He’s the perfect example of “people forget” how good he was.
Bill Belichick called Seymour and defensive tackle Vince Wilfork the best defensive linemen he’s ever coached. Seymour was the centerpiece of a defense that won three Super Bowls, was named to seven Pro Bowls and voted onto five All-Pro teams. He was on the NFL 2000s All-Decade Team. Among eligible players, 15 of 20 players on that team are in the hall of fame, and others, like Edgerrin James, Alan Faneca and Steve Hutchinson, could be inducted Saturday.
Perhaps the only reason Seymour wasn’t inducted is that he doesn’t have the counting numbers. He accumulated 57.5 sacks in 12 seasons with 498 tackles, 91 tackles for loss, 39 batted passes, four forced fumbles and eight fumble recoveries. But Seymour’s role in the Patriots’ defense wasn’t to put up counting numbers, it was to eat up space and allow his teammates to wreak havoc, which they did. Seymour never had double-digit sacks, but that he came close with eight in two seasons while with the Patriots should say enough.
Seymour was a versatile chess piece capable of playing across the Patriots’ defensive line from edge rusher to nose tackle. He’ll get into the Pro Football Hall of Fame and Patriots Hall of Fame soon enough, but both honors should have come sooner.