FOXBOROUGH, Mass. - The New England Patriots announced the trade of eight-year veteran defensive lineman Richard Seymour to the Oakland Raiders in exchange for a first-round draft choice in the 2011 NFL draft. In his eight years with the Patriots, Seymour played an important part in delivering six division championships, four conference titles and three Super Bowl championships to New England.
"From nearly the day he arrived in 2001, Richard Seymour established himself as one of our premier players for nearly a decade," said Patriots Head Coach Bill Belichick. "His presence has been felt as a force on the field, a respected man off it and a multi-year champion.
"Any transaction we make is with the goal of what is best for our team and, as difficult as it is to part ways with a player of Richard's stature, many factors were taken into account when we considered this trade," Belichick continued. "As an organization, we feel the trade with Oakland brings sufficient value and is in the long-term interest of the club. We are extremely grateful for the huge impact Richard's elite level of performance had on our success and we wish him the very best during the rest of his career."
Seymour, 29, was originally drafted by the Patriots in the first round of the 2001 NFL Draft with the sixth overall selection. The 6-foot-6-inch, 310-pound product from Georgia started 10 of 13 games, plus two of three postseason games, as a rookie to help propel the Patriots to their first Super Bowl title in franchise history. In eight seasons with the Patriots, Seymour started 105 of 111 games, totaling 460 total tackles, including 256 solo stops with 39 sacks. His 39 sacks rank 10th in franchise history, tied with Houston Antwine (1961-71) for sixth among all-time defensive linemen. He has also recorded two interceptions and six fumble recoveries. In 2004, Seymour scored his first career touchdown on a fumble recovery that he returned 68 yards in a 31-17 win over Buffalo (10/3/04). The fumble return is the longest in franchise history.
In 2002, Seymour started every game for the Patriots and shared the team lead with 5.5 sacks. That year, he was selected to his first of five consecutive Pro Bowls. He became just the fifth player in franchise history to earn five straight trips to the Pro Bowl, joining John Hannah (eight straight), Mike Haynes (five), Ben Coates (five) and Andre Tippett (five).
In 2003, Seymour recorded career highs with 80 total tackles, 45 solo stops and 8 sacks. Last year, Seymour started 15 games for the Patriots and recorded 63 total tackles with 34 solo stops, including eight sacks.