The New England Patriots held their eighth practice of this year’s training camp on Friday night, moving operations inside Gillette Stadium – the same arena that Richard Seymour called his home from 2002 to 2008. Seymour , of course, was a standout defensive lineman for the Patriots. who will be inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame on Saturday.
A first-round pick by New England in 2001, a year before Gillette Stadium opened, Seymour was a cornerstone of the team’s first dynastic run. He helped bring three Super Bowls to the organization, appeared in 126 combined regular season and playoff games, and was later named to the Patriots Team of the 2000s and Hall of Fame.
Seymour left the team via trade in 2009, but he still has strong ties to it. Whether it’s semi-regular returns — most recently to receive his Patriots Hall of Fame red jacket last October — or because of the status he still enjoys.
Even after all these years, after all, Seymour is still an inspiration to the club and its players. Just ask current defensive lineman Lawrence Guy, who spoke about the 42-year-old after Friday night’s practice inside Gillette Stadium.
“He’s a real inspiration to all of us,” Guy said of Seymour. “What he gave to the game, what he did on the pitch, what he did off the pitch, the aggression he brought there, that’s something you just want to watch. An old movie of him, you’re like, ‘Hey man, I wonder if I can still do something like this?’ and you realize what part of the league he is in.
“It’s always great to see his film up there and see the pieces he’s been able to do. He was one of those athletes. You can’t just repeat that type of human.
Guy wasn’t the only one talking about Seymour on Friday. Head coach Bill Belichick, who drafted Seymour sixth overall in 2001, spoke to NFL Network’s Scott Pioli before practice and also sang his praises.
“We’re very proud of Richard and what he’s done for the Patriots,” Belichick told Pioli, who was in New England’s front office when Seymour was drafted.
“First-round draft pick, he came in and helped us get to the Super Bowl in 2001. As we know, he played very selflessly. He played nose tackle, he was a natural defensive end and 3 techniques. Played out of position that first year and really helped us on things like field goal blocking and punt return and things like that where he just did more – he was playing fullback on offense and so right now.
Seymour’s career was highly successful and influential. Saturday, nine years after his retirement, he will be able to write another chapter.