The Pro Football Hall of Fame announced the class of 2021 over the past weekend. There were a number of notable names that did not make the cut. Including the long time New England Patriot defensive lineman Richard Seymour. This makes it the third consecutive year in which he will miss out on the Hall of Fame.
The New England Patriots selected Seymour with the sixth overall pick in the 2001 NFL draft. Seymour made an immediate impact in his rookie season, helping the Patriots to their first Super Bowl in franchise history. Seymour’s success did not stop there, as he would go on to win two more Super Bowls with the Patriots. His biggest individual achievements come from being named to the First-team All-Pro team for three consecutive years (2003-2005). He would make two Second-team All-Pro appearances in 2006 and 2011, as well as being selected to seven Pro Bowls.
Seymour was a part of the Patriots from 2001 to 2008 until he was traded to the Oakland Raiders where he would continue to play until his retirement at the end of the 2012 season. By the end of his career, Seymour earned a spot on both the New England Patriots All-2000s team and the NFL 2000’s All-Decade Team. In 2020, Seymour was finally inducted into the New England Patriots Hall of Fame, which was long overdue.
When you look at Seymour’s career numbers, they are not particularly eye-popping. He only has a grand total of 57.5 sacks across his entire career. His career-high for sacks in a single season is only eight, which he did twice in 2003 and 2008. Many people try to use Seymour’s stats as a way to discredit his Hall of Fame chances, but when evaluating Seymour, you need to look beyond his stats. As a defensive end/defensive tackle in Bill Belichick’s 3-4 system, Seymour’s primary role was to occupy space and attract double teams so that the outside linebackers and edge rushers could make plays. Seymour was an incredibly unselfish player that made huge statistical sacrifices to help the team win. In recent years, Bill Belichick and Tom Brady have both spoken highly of Seymour, detailing his athletic ability and unselfishness.
Bill Belichick on Richard Seymour making the Patriots Hall of Fame:
“Richard was a rare physical and athletic talent who possesses excellent intelligence. He was more than most any offensive player could handle and this enabled us to benefit as a defense in many ways. Richard came into the league as a mature, humble, high character person and quickly became one of the cornerstone players in the early stages of this program. We would not have won three championships in four years without him. I am thrilled he has been recognized as one of the franchise’s all-time greats.”
Tom Brady making a case for Seymour to be in the NFL Hall of Fame:
“I would love to see Richard Seymour inducted into NFL HOF. Not only was he a dominant player but a team-first, selfless player who played championship football each & every week. He was a cornerstone of the Patriots dynasty & deserves to be recognized for his contributions to football history.”
Without a doubt, Seymour deserves to be in the Hall of Fame, but it is not quite his time yet. Everyone knew going into this Hall of Fame class that it would be difficult for Seymour to get in. Firstly, it is hard for defensive tackles to make the Hall of Fame in general, but beyond that, the class of 2021 was incredibly stacked. The class included three first-ballot Hall of Famers in Peyton Manning, Charles Woodson and Calvin Johnson. Seymour himself acknowledged on Twitter after the class of 2021 had been announced that “timing is everything.”
Seymour’s time will come soon as his impressive credentials will keep him in the Hall of Fame conversation. He will be eligible to make the class of 2022 alongside fellow Patriot defensive tackle Vince Wilfork, who will be eligible for the first time. However, based on Seymour’s experience so far, it may take a while for Wilfork to get that gold jacket as well.
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