By all accounts, Richard Seymour has had a successful career both in terms of team achievements and individual accolades: a first-round draft pick by the New England Patriots in 2001, he helped the team win its first three Super Bowls while also being named to five Pro Bowls and four All-Pro teams. After getting traded to the Oakland Raiders in 2009, he added two more Pro Bowl selections and another All-Pro nomination to his résumé.
One honor has eluded the now-40-year-old thus far, however: despite reaching the final round in each of the last two years, Seymour has not yet made the cut to be inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame. He will get in eventually — becoming a finalist in each of his first two years of eligibility can generally be seen as a good sign — but for now both the 2019 and the 2020 selection processes have ended in disappointing fashion for Seymour.
How does he feel about this? The long-time Patriots and short-time Raiders defensive tackle spoke with ESPN Boston’s Mike Reiss earlier this offseason about his attempts at making the Hall of Fame, and took a reflective approach to not clearing the final hurdle in back-to-back years: “I will say, it was a level of disappointment not getting in. Then I look at it and all the guys that got in were very deserving. I totally respect the process.”
“It’s an honor to be considered one of the best and make it to the final 10. For me, my work is done. It’s up to the writers and voters,” continued Seymour. His Hall of Fame fate is indeed in the hands of those voting for the candidates, a group of 48 writers and sportscasters — 16 of which experts from the major news outlets, 32 representing each of the NFL’s cities and regions. On the Patriots’ behalf, Ron Borges is present at the meetings.
Borges has successfully made the case for numerous of the franchise’s Hall of Fame candidates throughout the years, with two being pointed out by Seymour: Borges helped linebacker Andre Tippett make it back in 2008, and just last year made apparently convincing arguments for cornerback Ty Law. Seymour, meanwhile, sounds positive when speaking about the veteran sportswriter doing the same for him as well at one point in the future.
“Ron has the knowledge from watching the game. He’s not just a friend or a fan. He understands football. He’s a guy that can look past statistics and see the impact that you make, so he understands that side of it, too,” he said about Borges and the role he plays in him possibly making the Hall of Fame one day. And while other players been voted in over him the last two years, Seymour is confident in Borges: “He’s been pounding the table hard.”
For the time being, however, Seymour remains on the outside looking in and will get his next chance in 2021. In the meantime, there is another Hall to conquer: the Patriots’ own franchise Hall of Fame. Despite being one of the best players in team history and a cornerstone member of the early dynasty, he has not yet been voted in due to the number of other deserving candidates earning the necessary votes over him.
As is the case with Pro Football’s Hall of Fame, however, Seymour certainly has done enough to earn recognition even though time has not been on his side just yet.