Patriots greats Richard Seymour and Rodney Harrison were named semi-finalists for induction into the Pro Football Hall of Fame's class of 2021 on Tuesday. Seymour has been a finalist the last two seasons, while Harrison is a first-time semifinalist.
Both are already members of the Patriots own Hall of Fame, with Harrison being voted in last season and head coach Bill Belichick commenting during the induction ceremony that Harrison should one day have his bust in Canton, Ohio as well.
Seymour arrived as a first-round pick out of Georgia in 2001 and instantly contributed to the Patriots first Super Bowl-winning team. He'd go on to be one of the core front seven pieces over the next decade, appearing in three more Super Bowls and winning two of them.
Harrison joined the Pats in free agency in 2003 and instantly became a fan favorite with his leadership and hard-hitting style. New England made the Super Bowl in every season that Harrison finished the year healthy as he was a tone-setter for the back end. It might be appropriate for Harrison to be enshrined the same year as fellow semifinalist Peyton Manning, a quarterback Harrison had plenty of big plays against over the course of his Patriots tenure.
Other semi-finalists to spend time with the Patriots include Fred Taylor (2009-10), John Lynch (training camp 2008), Torry Holt (training camp 2010), and Reggie Wayne (training camp 2015).
Fans can vote for their picks through the end of January here.
Belichick spies tough matchup with Cardinals
The Patriots return home to Gillette Stadium on Sunday to face the Arizona Cardinals, led by dynamic second-year quarterback Kyler Murray. The 6-4 Cardinals are yet another tough matchup with an athletic quarterback who can do it all.
"They are as explosive as anybody we've played," said Belichick on Tuesday morning. "They have a lot of good players – experienced offensive line, some good speed players in the passing game from [Christian] Kirk to [Andy] Isabella, a couple of great receivers with [DeAndre] Hopkins and [Larry] Fitzgerald, [Chase] Edmonds and [Kenyan] Drake are dangerous, and the tight ends, that's an explosive group there as well, plus the quarterback. So, they have a lot of guys that can make big plays, that run well."
At the center of Arizona's attack is head coach Kliff Kingsbury, who was drafted by the Patriots in the sixth round of the 2003 NFL draft but spent his rookie season on injured reserve before getting cut the following summer. Belichick pointed out Kingsbury was smart and picked a lot of things up on his own.
"Kliff does a good job with the offense of getting the ball into space, getting the ball to receivers – or whether it be backs, tight ends or receivers – but getting the ball to somebody in space where they have an opportunity to make big plays," said Belichick.
But there's no question, Murray is the one who makes it all work, despite a lack of height that hasn't hindered him as much as many projected at the NFL level.
"[Murray]'s got a very good arm," said Belichick. "He throws an excellent deep ball. He's quick, but he's fast. He can he can get away from most everybody. So, you have to maintain leverage and take an angle on him or have an angle with him with multiple people that just limit the amount of space that he can work in. But, he's very dynamic player."