By Alex Barth, 985TheSportsHub.com
With the final deliberations underway for the Pro Football Hall of Fame Class of 2020, a few of the game’s all-time greats are chipping in to help the case of a former teammate.
On Wednesday, Patriots.com released Bill Belichick, Tom Brady, and Andre Tippett’s letters to the Hall of Fame committee vouching for former Patriot Richard Seymour’s induction. You can read all three letters in their entirety here.
Belichick and Brady both wrote the committee last year as well, in support of Seymour and cornerback Ty Law, who ultimately ended up getting inducted.
As the committee debates Seymour for the second time as a finalist, those backing him from the Patriots organization seemed to emphasize both his versatility and his selflessness.
“It is extremely uncommon to see a player of his size, at any position, be capable of doing so many things so well,” Belichick wrote in his letter. “Richard had a rare combination of size, speed, strength and athleticism. He was a smart player who understood game plans and adjustments on the field. His length, strength and quickness allowed him to match up on any offensive lineman favorably. Although primarily a defensive end in our 3-4 defense, Richard also played nose tackle. In the four-man line, Richard could play defensive end or defensive tackle depending on the situation and desired matchups.”
Perhaps the highest praise from the man who drafted Seymour in 2001 came in his closing.
“Richard Seymour was unquestionably one of our key players and I do not believe we would have won three championships without him.”
In Brady’s letter, the Patriots quarterback shared that he feels Seymour made him a better player early in his career.
“As someone who faced him every day in practice for eight seasons, I can tell you, Richard Seymour was a menace. At 6-6 and nearly 320 pounds, he was tall, yet an immovable object, with the ability to wreak havoc in the trenches…As a result, he made everyone better. I know facing those defenses in practice early in my career challenged me daily and helped me develop as a player.”
Brady also mentioned Seymour’s willingness to play in all three phases of the game.
“His leadership as a player who put the team first was always a constant. Not only did he accept the selfless role and responsibilities in a two-gap defense, but he was eager and willing to contribute on special teams and even as a fullback in our goal-line offense.”
Brady closed his letter in similar fashion to Belichick.
“It’s hard to imagine that the New England Patriots would have won our first three Super Bowls without him. He was a cornerstone of that Patriots dynasty and deserves to be recognized for his contributions to football history.”
Tippett, who was inducted into the Hall of Fame himself in 2008, labeled Seymour as the key to the Patriots reversing their fortunes in the early 2000’s.
“In the 2000s, the Patriots’ organization truly changed, and at the heart of that change was Richard Seymour. With his size, pure talent, and his ability to play any of the defensive line positions in the 4-3 and 3-4 defense, he helped anchor a unit that helped propel the Patriots to three Super Bowl Championships in his eight seasons in a New England Patriots uniform.”
Seymour was drafted by the Patriots sixth overall in the 2001 NFL Draft. The Georgia product would go on to win three Super Bowls and play five All-Pro seasons in his eight years in New England. Before the 2009 season, he was traded to the Oakland Raiders for a first-round pick (which ended up netting the Patriots Chandler Jones and Shane Vereen). He would play four more seasons in black and silver, and was twice more named an All-Pro. He finished his career with 57.5 sacks.
Alex Barth is a writer and digital producer for 985TheSportsHub.com. Any opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of 98.5 The Sports Hub, Beasley Media Group, or any subsidiaries. Thoughts? Comments? Questions? Hate mail? Let him hear it on Twitter @RealAlexBarth or via email at Alexander.Barth@bbgi.com