By Ryan Leong
Richard Seymour, DT, #92
Height: 6′ 6”
Birthplace: Gadsden, South Carolina
Experience: 12th NFL season, 4th with Raiders
Arguably the greatest No. 6 overall pick ever in the NFL Draft, Richard Seymour is a seven-time Pro Bowl defensive tackle. Playing in his fourth season wearing the Silver and Black, Seymour isn’t playing as well this year but is still very productive at 33 years old. Last Sunday’s game at Atlanta marked his 50th game with the Raiders. Seymour has been to the Pro Bowl twice since coming to Oakland in 2009.
Seymour played his college ball at Georgia. Over four years he played in 41 games, making 25 starts. He was an All-SEC pick in 1999 and 2000. In his final two seasons with the Bulldogs, he led the team in tackles. He had 78 tackles (35 solo) in his senior season.
He was then drafted sixth overall by the New England Patriots in the 2001 draft and on July 24 of that year, he was signed to a six-year, $14.3 million contract. Seymour played 13 games in his rookie season, starting 10 of those games. Used primarily as a 4-3 defensive tackle, he had three sacks. He would get the first of three Super Bowl rings that year by helping the Patriots beat the St. Louis Rams in Super Bowl XXXVI.
In 2003, the Patriots switched to a 3-4 defense. Seymour moved to defensive end and became a team captain for the first time in his career. In 15 games, starting 14 of them, he had his best individual season with 56 tackles and eight sacks. He would twice be named as the AFC Special Teams Player of the Week. That year, the Patriots would win Super Bowl XXXVIII, defeating the Carolina Panthers.
The following year in 2004, Seymour had slight drops in his overall numbers in sacks and tackles but was still named to his third consecutive Pro Bowl and named All-Pro for the second straight year. He took home his third Super Bowl ring after the Patriots beat the Philadelphia Eagles in Super Bowl XXXIX.
In fact, Seymour made the Pro Bowl from 2002 through 2006 while with New England.
While he did not make the Pro Bowl in the remaining years with the Patriots, Seymour had consistent defensive numbers despite missing games with various injuries. During that time, he had been signed to a three-year contract worth $30 million.
On September 6 2009, the Patriots traded Seymour to the Raiders for a first-round draft pick. Initially, Seymour refused to join the Raiders, upset that he was traded. The Raiders then gave Seymour a formal letter that if he didn’t report within five days, he would be placed on the reserve/did not report list, preventing him from playing for any team and becoming a free agent until he fulfilled his contract in 2010.
The matter was eventually settled through the NFLPA. Seymour reported to the Raiders on September 12 and would play all 16 games. He had 47 tackles and four sacks on the season.
The next year, Seymour was given the “franchise tag” and signed a one-year deal worth 12.4 million. His most memorable incident that season was punching Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger on November 22 in a game at Heinz Field. He was fined $25,000. He was named to play in the Pro Bowl that season, but sat out due to a hamstring injury.
In 2011, he signed a two-year extension worth $30 million, making him the highest-paid defensive player in the NFL. He finished that season with 29 tackles and six sacks and was named to his seventh Pro Bowl.
This season, Seymour has underperformed, but so has the rest of the defense. In five games, he has nine tackles and one sack. Hopefully, his production will improve and bring some respectability to the Raiders, who are currently 1-4.
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Ryan Leong has reported on over 2,800 games in the Bay Area since 1998, covering the Sharks, Giants, A’s, Warriors, 49ers, Raiders and the local college teams for radio networks and wire services. Having the best seat in the house to watch sports has been a thrill and Ryan still enjoys going to the games giving fans some insight and perspective on the players and coaches. His work can be found on Examiner.com.