HALL OF FAME INDUCTEE RICHARD SEYMOUR
May 11, 2020
Q: What was your reaction this morning when you got the news? What does this honor mean to you in a career that has included three Super Bowl titles and many individual accomplishments?
RS: When I first got the news, obviously it was an opportunity for me to kind of reflect. I thought back to the day I was drafted and my mom and my dad and my family all being there. You just think about all of the hard work that it took just to be drafted. And now, to be considered a Patriots Hall of Famer is a tremendous honor.
Q: What was it about your career early on that allowed you to adapt to what Bill Belichick and his coaching staff were asking? You went from 4-3 early in your career to 3-4. How were you able to make that transition?
RS: I remember when I was being recruited out of Georgia, I remember the scout Lionel Vital. He came to Georgia and he was telling me about the 3-4 defense and he was asking me could I do it. At that point, I didn't even know what a 3-4 defensive end was, to be honest, but I was like, 'Yeah, I can do it.' Obviously, you go back, you look at Coach Belichick and what he's meant to defense, and to be drafted by him says a lot. So, I just wanted to come in and absorb as much information as I could. I knew I was coming to, at that time, a veteran team. Like I said, I was in really, really good hands with Coach Belichick, with Romeo Crennel and all of the coaches there. I mean, they really made the transition super easy for me.
Q: In the announcement, Robert Kraft said that you laid the foundation for the defense, you were the consummate pro and you put the team goals ahead of your own goals. What did those words mean to you?
RS: For me, like I said, it's a tremendous honor. I have a picture down in the basement of Mr. Kraft and Jonathan holding up a No. 1 jersey and the stadium in the background was being built at the time, so I think it was very fitting to be laying the foundation. And Coach Belichick, we always talked about building a team that had to be built from the inside out. I was just enthused that they chose me to be a part of trying to change some of the history that was going on. Like I said, this is a tremendous honor and to be a part of the foundation of the Super Bowl run and the dynasty and the championships, you just think – you know, it's really not for me. You think about so many other people that have helped get you to the point where you are. So, this is just paying respects to them, as well.
Q: When you arrived as a rookie, what kind of expectations did the team have at that time? What was it like to win that first Super Bowl?
RS: Well, coming in in 2001, anytime you have an early draft pick, you're really going to a team that – we were coming off being 5-11. But one thing Coach Belichick always preached is what happened last year really doesn't matter, and I think that's why you have continued success. For us, it was about going out and competing at a high level. Like I said, it was a veteran-laden team. They really taught me the ins and outs and how to take care of my body and doing all the little things to be a true professional. I truly enjoyed playing football and everything that Coach Belichick, Romeo Crennel, Pepper Johnson – it was just a wealth of knowledge that I was coming into. There were no Super Bowl talks at that time. We were just trying to go out and win games and we just strung enough together and before you knew it, we found ourselves in a really good spot and we capitalized on it throughout the playoffs.
Q: In 2004, you had a fumble recovery against Drew Bledsoe and returned it for a touchdown. Can you talk about that moment? Also, how big was this team in 2004 and 2005?
RS: You know, it's funny. I remember when we went up to Buffalo. That was toward the end of the game. Obviously, being a teammate of Drew's early – well, early in my career – it's always fun to go against someone that you played with, just from a competitive standpoint. On that play, I remember [Tedy] Bruschi got the strip-sack and threw the block, and then I had a host of guys leading me into the end zone. Obviously, that was fun. But, we had a very talented group. Obviously, it was a team, so nobody tried to stand out in terms of personal attention, but we had some guys on those teams, like I said, building a team from the front to the back – I think, Vince Wilfork and Ty Warren was there at that time, Jarvis Green. And then you build it from the back with Tedy Bruschi and Roman Phifer, Willie McGinest, [Mike] Vrabel. And then on the back end you had Ty Law and Rodney Harrison and all of the guys. So, it was a group effort and, like I said, I'm just glad I was a part of it.
Q: In the last couple years, how much have you sensed that not being in the Patriots Hall of Fame, despite being a finalist, maybe was a factor in the Pro Football Hall of Fame process? In your opinion, could this honor be an important thing for you to build more momentum for the Pro Football Hall of Fame?
RS: I think it definitely made it difficult because some writers could easily say, 'We can't put him in the Pro Football Hall of Fame honestly until he's in the Patriots Hall of Fame.' But, I'll be in now, so we'll just deal with that. Like I said, it's a tremendous honor. It wasn't anything that I ever thought about in terms of why I played, in terms of being a Hall of Famer. I just wanted to go out and compete and earn the respect of my teammates and also the opponents that I played against. That's really where my mindset was. I might have said it a while ago, but I think it's a difference between stats and impact – having your impact on the game and imprint of offensive coordinators having to play against you. I think I earned that. I've talked to a lot of offensive linemen throughout the years and earned their respect, and I think that goes a long way in not only the Patriots Hall of Fame, but down the road hopefully the Pro Football Hall of Fame. It's all a blessing and honor.
Q: When I say the words 'New England Patriots,' what goes through your mind?
RS: The team that drafted me. A champion. Doing things the right way. Leadership. It's an organization that's built the right way, in my opinion – strong ownership, loyal fan group and a coach that is second to none. It was an honor for me to be drafted there, to be honest. Out of all the places you can go in the National Football League, you want to go where everybody takes it serious. So, that's some of things that come to my mind when I think about the Patriots.
Q: You're the seventh player to win three Super Bowls and be inducted into the Patriots Hall of Fame, joining Troy Brown, Tedy Bruschi, Kevin Faulk, Ty Law, Matt Light and Willie McGinest. When I say those names, what does it mean to be the seventh player to win three Super Bowls and be inducted into the Patriots Hall of Fame?
RS: When you say those names, I think about ultimate competitors. Somebody that you knew at the end of the day, all of those guys, from Rodney, Willie, Matt, Kevin Faulk, all of the guys – the attention to detail and hard work that they put in, you knew they were going to be ready. You never wanted to let your teammates down. We all take it very serious, but we had a good time in doing it, as well. We played the game the right way, but we had fun doing it.
Q: What does it mean to you to be voted in by the fans? What does it mean to you to beat out both Bill Parcells and Mike Vrabel in the fan vote?
RS: Well, like I said, at the end of the day, you put your body to work out there and you let that speak for itself. Vrabel is one of my all-time favorite teammates. Coach Parcells, I've heard many stories. I wasn't coached by him, but I heard many stories about the way he was able to motivate his team to get the best out of them. For me, to be honest, just being mentioned among those guys, I know what the level of hard work and dedication that they pour into the game. I feel like they're definitely worthy, and obviously only one could go in in terms of the fans. It's a hard thing to do because everyone is deserving. Really, it was this year, next year – we're several years back. It's just a hard deal when so many guys have won Super Bowls. They're all definitely worthy to be in. But, when your number is called, you accept it, and I'm honored to be wearing a red jacket.
Q: Do you think it's hard for a 3-4 end or a nose tackle, anyone who takes a lot of double teams on the inside and doesn't get a lot of sack numbers like a defensive end, tackles like a linebacker or interceptions like a defensive back, to get these sorts of post-career honors because you don't have those statistical milestones?
RS: Well, I look at it, it's kind of two-fold. At the end of the day, as a competitor, the bottom line for us is about winning. Whatever it took to win, or whatever it takes to win at any cost, that's what you're willing to do. If they needed me to play nose guard, which I did, to defensive end or defensive tackle, I was willing to do that. At the end of the day, we had a saying – it wasn't about the Pro Bowl or the All-Pros that you made. At the end of the day, we wanted to hoist the trophy. So, I will say this, too – in terms of the numbers, you just wanted to be appreciated for what you brought to the table. Coach Belichick, throughout our contract negotiations, he showed that he appreciated what I brought to the table. If all of those things are in line and you're making an impact on the game and winning, who can complain?
Q: You expressed your respect for Coach Belichick, but you also had tough contract negotiations and he traded you in the end. How would you describe your relationship with him during your career and what is it like now?
RS: Well, Al Davis said he traded for me, so that's the way I look at it. At the end of the day, like I said, the amount of respect I had for Coach Belichick and still have to this day – there's a difference between business and your personal life. Personally, it was always a ton of respect. Coach Belichick, he would always send a Christmas gift to the kids and little things like that. In terms of the business side of it, I mean, that's just the business side of the NFL. We saw that this year with all their guys. So, that's a part of it. 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.