Patriots Legend Richard Seymour Needed Time Before He Forgave Bill Belichick for Trading Him Away

Without Richard Seymour in the trenches, the New England Patriots may not have six Super Bowl championships to their name.

A first-round pick in 2001, Seymour quickly became an All-Pro defensive lineman on the Patriots’ Super Bowl dynasty. However, New England eventually traded Seymour to the miserable Oakland Raiders.

It took Seymour some time to forgive Bill Belichick and the Patriots for sending him away. Seymour explained in 2020 why he eventually moved and welcomed the Patriots organization back into his life.

Richard Seymour is a New England Patriots legend

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The sixth overall pick in 2001, Richard Seymour filled the imposing defensive line role that Bill Belichick needed on the New England Patriots.

Seymour had three sacks as a rookie, and added another quarterback takedown in New England’s Super Bowl 36 victory over Kurt Warner and the Rams.

In eight total seasons with the Patriots, Seymour totaled 39 sacks, picked off two passes, forced three fumbles, recovered another six fumbles, and even scored a defensive touchdown when he returned a fumble 68 yards downfield.

Seymour earned Pro Bowl honors five times and three first-team All-Pro selections. He added 4.5 sacks in 15 career playoff games, and he left New England with three Super Bowl rings on his hand.

New England traded Seymour to the Raiders in 2009

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Richard Seymour learned just how cruel the NFL business world can be, especially with Bill Belichick in charge.

On the eve of the 2009 season, Belichick traded Seymour to the then-Oakland Raiders for a 2011 first-round pick. New England later used that selection on offensive lineman Nate Solder, who won two Super Bowl titles in eight seasons with the Patriots. 

Seymour initially refused to report to the Raiders before he joined them only two days before the team began the regular season. He began his tenure in Oakland by sacking then-Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers twice on Monday Night Football

Seymour tallied 18.5 sacks in 53 games with the Raiders over four seasons, and he earned Pro Bowl honors following the 2010 and 2011 campaigns.

Richard Seymour eventually forgave Bill Belichick

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Richard Seymour likely would have preferred staying with the New England Patriots, one of the NFL’s model franchises, instead of joining the struggling Oakland Raiders.

It took some time, but Seymour forgave the Patriots for sending him to California, especially because the move took place only a few days before the 2009 season began.

In a 2020 press conference, Seymour reflected on understanding why Belichick traded him in 2009. USA Today transcribed Seymour’s full comments.

“I don’t have any hard feelings or anything like that. That’s just a part of the way the NFL works. So, it may have seemed like it was some tension or something, but in my mind, it’s no hard feelings. We talk and we see each other. He’ll shoot me a text. I was down there when the team was here in Atlanta for the Super Bowl. I was with the team. So, all is well.”

Patriots fans voted Seymour into the team’s Hall of Fame in May 2020.

Richard Seymour is a Hall of Fame finalist yet again

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Richard Seymour has an opportunity to enter the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

Seymour is one of 15 player finalists this year. This is the third straight year that Seymour has made it to the final 15.

Legendary Indianapolis Colts quarterback Peyton Manning and longtime Lions receiver Calvin Johnson headline the first-year finalists. Manning is expected to get in on the first try.

Other notable finalists include ex-Steelers guard Alan Faneca, longtime Raiders defensive back Charles Woodson, and Colts receiver Reggie Wayne, who spent most of his career catching touchdowns from Manning.

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