Richard Seymour will officially be enshrined into the Pro Football Hall of Fame next month, and his former high school principal will have the honor of introducing him to the crowd.
Titus Duren will be Seymour’s presenter at the Aug. 3 ceremony in Canton, OH. Duren was principal at Lower Richland High School in Hopkins, SC, when the defensive linemen was a student there in the 1990s. According to Seymour, his continued support through the years helped build the foundation for his journey to the NFL and, eventually, the Hall of Fame.
The introduction speech will therefore have been three decades in the making.
“He was a proud supporter throughout my entire career, and he’s also a pillar in the community in South Carolina. It’s a great way to tie my roots and what’s really important to me throughout my journey,” Seymour said (via ESPN Boston’s Mike Reiss).
“He’s much more than a principal at the school. All the kids that went there, he knows their families. He was someone who really cared what everyone was doing. It wasn’t just a job for him.”
Duren graduated from Clemson in 1971 and spent more than 40 years as a professional educator and administrator. After retiring, he continued to assist schools through his consulting firm.
“It means a lot,” Duren recently told The Mission about the honor. “I’ve been in education a little over 50 years — I started out as a teacher and coach back in the 1970s. I’ve had student-players go on to play in the league. I’ve had some, I think from as early as 1974 one of my kids played with the 49ers on a couple of Super Bowls. But Richard, when he called and asked me to do this I was just floored.
“He and I we’ve had a strong relationship. There were times that we agreed and we disagreed, but we’ve been very strong. He looks at me like a father figure, and his father, who passed away, and I were good friends. We were good friends. And his mother and grandmother, we don’t live far from each other and we’ve always been very close. So, when he asked me to do this I could not say no.”
Following his time at Lower Richland, Seymour went on to join the University of Georgia and enter the NFL as a first-round draft pick by the New England Patriots in 2001. He went on to appear in a combined 179 regular season and playoff games between stints in New England (2001-08) and with the Oakland Raiders (2009-12), earning himself three Super Bowl rings.
Next month, Seymour will write the next chapter to his legendary career by entering the Pro Football Hall of Fame. And Duren will be by his side, just like he was for the last three decades.