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Belichick, Brady and Tippett share their letters to the Pro Football Hall of Fame Selection Committee on Richard Seymour

Read letters from Tom Brady, Bill Belichick and Andre Tippett on why Richard Seymour should be inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.


Bill Belichick's Letter to the Pro Football Hall of Fame Selection Committee (2019)

Dear Pro Football Hall of Fame Selection Committee,

Richard Seymour and Vince Wilfork are the two best defensive linemen I have coached. Richard had a rare combination of size, speed, strength and athleticism. He was a smart player who understood game plans and adjustments on the field. His length, strength and quickness allowed him to match up on any offensive lineman favorably. Although primarily a defensive end in our 3-4 defense, Richard also played nose tackle. In the four-man line, Richard could play defensive end or defensive tackle depending on the situation and desired matchups.

His physical and mental versatility, as well as his ability to master multiple techniques, made him dominant as an inside or outside player. As an example of his skills as a complete football player, Richard was a force on field goal blocks for us and, early in his career played on the punt return unit. Richard was effective versus the run and pass from a variety of alignments. It is extremely uncommon to see a player of his size, at any position, be capable of doing so many things so well. In addition, Richard was a well-conditioned athlete with the Patriots and he had the stamina to compete for an entire 60 minute game.

Richard Seymour was unquestionably one of our key players and I do not believe we would have won three championships without him.


Bill Belichick


Tom Brady's Letter to the Pro Football Hall of Fame Selection Committee (2020)

Dear Pro Football Hall of Fame Selection Committee,

I am writing in support of Richard Seymour's candidacy for the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Over the course of my 20 years in the NFL, I have had the pleasure of playing against, playing with and knowing personally many of the Pro Hall of Fame inductees. Each of them, in their own right, changed the game in some way. All of them were elite players. In Richard's case, he affected the culture and dominance of our team from the day he arrived. 

As someone who faced him every day in practice for eight seasons, I can tell you, Richard Seymour was a menace. At 6-6 and nearly 320 pounds, he was tall, yet an immovable object, with the ability to wreak havoc in the trenches. He was smart, he understood the game and accepted his responsibilities. He had an unusual combination of size, strength, speed and athleticism. Coach Belichick stresses the importance of playing complementary football, and no one had a greater impact on what we could do defensively than Richard. He was a selfless player who accepted the roles he was assigned, knowing the impact it would have on the entire defense. As a result, he made everyone better. I know facing those defenses in practice early in my career challenged me daily and helped me develop as a player.

Richard was drafted sixth overall in the 2001 NFL draft and started in his first NFL game. That year, the defense didn't give up more than 17 points in each of our last nine games which propelled us to our first Super Bowl Championship in franchise history. Richard was named a team captain in just his second season and became a perennial All-Pro and Pro Bowl player. Looking back at that time, I have an even greater appreciation for the roles he played on our defense, which powered us to six division titles and three Super Bowl Championships during his eight-year Patriots career.

For a coach who loves to utilize a player's versatility, Richard was the perfect Patriot. He had the size and speed to play on the outside on the defensive line, but the strength and quickness to play inside, too. You simply aren't going to find many 6-6 players who can line up on the nose and still dominate the line of scrimmage. That type of flexibility allowed our coaches to transition from a 3-4 to a 4-3, often times with similar personnel, allowing us to disguise our looks and create matchup problems for our opponents. His speed and athleticism were on full display when he returned a fumble 68 yards for a touchdown. And his leadership as a player who put the team first was always a constant. Not only did he accept the selfless role and responsibilities in a two-gap defense, but he was eager and willing to contribute on special teams and even as a fullback in our goal-line offense. In my 20-year career, I've never seen an All-Pro volunteer for those roles as eagerly as Richard did. He was the epitome of a team-first player.

I appreciate the time and effort this committee puts into the decision process. I wouldn't write if I didn't fully endorse Richard Seymour as a deserving candidate for the Pro Football Hall of Fame. It's hard to imagine that the New England Patriots would have won our first three Super Bowls without him. He was a cornerstone of that Patriots dynasty and deserves to be recognized for his contributions to football history.


Tom Brady

Andre Tippett's Letter to the Pro Football Hall of Fame Selection Committee (2020)

Dear Pro Football Hall of Fame Selection Committee,

I've been fortunate to see a lot of great defensive players come through the Patriots organization during my 38 years with the team as a defensive player and team executive. I understand the importance of having a dominant player who can be the backbone of your defense if you want to have sustained team success. In the 2000s, the Patriots' organization truly changed, and at the heart of that change was Richard Seymour. With his size, pure talent, and his ability to play any of the defensive line positions in the 4-3 and 3-4 defense, he helped anchor a unit that helped propel the Patriots to three Super Bowl Championships in his eight seasons in a New England Patriots uniform.

I saw Richard rise in big moments, as well as sacrifice his personal goals so others around him could make contributions. Richard in my opinion was truly a difference maker. He had the power and explosiveness, as well as the quickness, to cause quarterbacks to worry, which is evident in his 57.5 sacks. But Richard's greatness isn't in the numbers or the scheme; it was his ability to do whatever was asked of him. He had the ability to rush from the outside. He was big, agile and could eat up the inside run. He had the athletic ability to take on the double team. Those attributes don't show up on the stat sheet at the end of the game, but they contribute heavily to the most important statistic -winning.

He had the ability to move up and down the line of scrimmage and contribute at all four defensive line positions, a defensive line coach's dream and a great teammate. He truly was whatever you needed him to be. What a great honor it was for me to watch Richard play eight seasons here in New England. I've seen guys with size, power and speed that never fulfilled the potential that comes with those attributes.

Richard not only had it all, he also took full advantage of it all and made others around him that much better. His career body of work proves his greatness. During his career, he earned All-Pro honors five times, was named to seven Pro Bowls and was voted to the NFL's 2000 All-Decade team. In his eight seasons with the Patriots, he was a four•time All-Pro, earned five trips to the Pro Bowl, and more importantly led the Patriots to six division titles and three Super Bowl championships. He also was named a team captain in his second season on a veteran-laden team, which proved the respect he quickly earned as a leader. His significant contributions helped turn the Patriots into winners. That's the greatness of Richard Seymour.

Our organization is very proud of Richard and all that he has accomplished. He was the true cornerstone and anchor of the defense and helped start this dynasty here in New England.

I strongly believe Richard Seymour belongs in the Pro Football Hall of Fame.


Andre Tippett

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