Richard Seymour: Hall of Fame human being too | Sports
The folks in Canton, Ohio made it official on Saturday afternoon by inducting Richard Seymour, the sixth New England Patriot into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
Talk about a well-deserved honor for the three-time Super Bowl champion, seven-time Pro Bowler and three-time All-Pro.
I hate to invoke the cliché here. Often in this situation, words become gratuitous. But I must. Seymour is first and foremost a Hall of Fame human being.
Yes, football helped bring him here. The fact that he can take the face-aligned 300-pound monster and throw it around like my old-school GI Joe action figures made a great life for the University of Georgia product. But it’s what he’s done with that life — a good man, an exceptional family man, one of the real nice guys in the game with a solid head on his shoulders — that makes Seymour most special.
Just a little background here, before giving you three of my favorite Seymour stories to make you understand why, as a human being, he should be held in the highest regard. His 2001 draft was my first as a Patriots pace reporter. So we sort of came in together.
Watching him at the start of that Bryan College (now college, I know) training camp, it was obvious that Bill Belichick had spent the No. 6 overall pick on a truly special talent.
What Seymour did to Adrian Klemm and Greg Robinson-Randall in that camp was borderline criminal.
I knew from that camp that if I was going to stick with the Patriots in 2001, it would be Seymour.
Sorry to digress.
I have three Seymour stories to tell — stories I tell regularly — that I hope will add greatly to your appreciation of this Patriots legend.
THE “INTERNET” HISTORY
In 2001, the World Wide Web was a fairly new thing. Google search and searches were all the rage.
So for my first feature film on Seymour, I did a “Google” search to try to find an angle. I didn’t find much, but I did find a pair of English freshman articles he wrote in Georgia – one on race and the other on women’s rights. To be honest they weren’t really read, typical English Comp 101 fodder, but talk about an icebreaker.
So one Wednesday at the old Foxborough Stadium, I asked Seymour about the class – and those two papers. He was confused. Heck, maybe he was a little nervous about what years later would become known as cyberbullying.
Seymour was an unassuming kid from a tough upbringing in South Carolina, a little rough around the edges for sure.
“Where did you find this stuff?” he asked me. I said, “Internet, of course.
Seymour laughed and said words I’ll never, ever forget: “They’ve got to do something about the fucking internet.”
We both laughed about it.
Do me a favor today, folks. Find a video of Seymour’s HOF speech or a recent interview.
Richard Seymour has gone from that confused kid to one of the finest human beings you’ll find in sports – anywhere.
Talk about a man who is eager to learn and improve.
It’s something special — something I will always remember fondly.
GIANT WITH A HUGE HEART
The NFL has had plenty of initiatives for its players to give back over the years. For decades, one of those has been the Drink Milk and Eat Healthy campaign for inner-city kids.
So one weekday, which was supposed to be a Tuesday, on his day off, Seymour traveled to Boston to talk to elementary school students about nutrition.
The tallest man in the room had the biggest heart. He was just eating the kids and they were enthralled except for the part where he told them to go with apple slices instead of fries in their Happy Meal.
I had many reasons to complain that day – long drive in traffic, finding parking in town, etc. Seymour, even in his early twenties, was a breath of fresh air. Character matters, and you could almost immediately see that he oozed it.
THE ANGRY TED STORY
So now we leapfrog two years to 2003, Seymour’s third season in what was then known as Patriot Place.
The Patriots signed a mountain of a man this offseason in veteran free agent Ted Washington.
In his dozen seasons, Washington was known for three things – his mammoth size at 6-foot-5 and 365 pounds; his propensity to dominate games from his position as a nose guard; and his hatred of the media.
Ted never spoke. Never.
I decided one of those slow Wednesdays that I was going to change all that.
Washington came to his locker, and I was going to be gregarious and engage.
“So Ted, I’m not looking to talk football. I just wonder what a guy like you has for favorite foods. Can we talk?”
“No, seriously, what does it take to feed a guy your size?” »
The silence turned into a loud, steady, furious growl.
“Come on, Ted. We’re both big guys who love to eat. Let’s talk food.
Just then, Seymour in the next locker – Washington was wearing 92, Seymour 93 – gets up from his chair, puts his hand on my shoulder and warns, “I think you better get out of here… now.
He didn’t have to tell me twice. I did not run. I galloped. It says here that Richard Seymour kept me from going to the hospital or worse that day. He probably saved Big Ted from an assault charge and kicked us both out of the SportsCenter that night.
He didn’t have to do this. He could have let me splash all over this place.
So for that we can all be grateful.
Follow Hector Longo on Twitter: @mvcreature