Richard Seymour was a three-time world champion during his career in the NFL, but had to get used to second place after his retirement — at least in regards to his Hall of Fame aspirations. Seymour reached the final round of the Pro Football Hall of Fame’s voting process in 2019 and 2020, but failed to clear the final hurdle each time. The same was true for his candidacy for the New England Patriots’ franchise equivalent, dating back to 2016.
After four straight unsuccessful tries to get into the franchise’s Hall of Fame, however, Seymour finally made it in this year: as was announced by the Patriots earlier on Monday, fans voted for him over fellow candidates Mike Vrabel and Bill Parcells. The 40-year-old will therefore get enshrined later this year — even though the Coronavirus pandemic might affect the festivities — and become the 30th man to be handed the famous red jacket.
Seymour has already set his sights on the next Hall of Fame, though, and believes that joining New England’s could help his chances heading into 2021: “I think [not being in the Patriots Hall of Fame] definitely made it difficult because some writers could easily say, ‘Well, we can’t put him in the Pro Football Hall of Fame, obviously, until he’s in the Patriots Hall of Fame.’ But I’m in now, so we will just deal with that.”
The former first-round draft pick certainly has the résumé to earn a gold jacket on top of the one he will receive from the Patriots: during his 12 seasons in the league, he did not only win three Super Bowls but also was voted to seven Pro Bowls and three All-Pro squads as well as the NFL’s Team of the 2000s. Add making the Patriots’ 50-year anniversary team and now the organization’s Hall of Fame and you get a player with a strong case.
Seymour did not just look towards the future during his conference call with the New England media shortly after getting the news, however, but also spoke in reflective tone about his time with the team between 2001 and 2009: “When I first got the news, it was an opportunity and a time for me to 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 it took just to be drafted, now to be considered a Patriots Hall of Famer, it’s a tremendous honor,” Seymour continued. “It wasn’t anything that I ever thought about while I played — 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.”
“And I think there’s a difference between stats and impact — having your impact on the game and imprint on offensive coordinators having to play against you,” he added. “I think I earned that. I talked to a lot of offensive linemen throughout the years, and I earned their respect. So I think that goes a long way, not only in the Patriots Hall of Fame, but, down the road, hopefully the Pro Football Hall of Fame. It’s all a blessing and an honor.”