Curran: In retrospect, Pats blew call on Seymour


Curran: In retrospect, Pats blew call on Seymour

By Tom E. Curran
Raiders coach Hue Jackson recently took a tiny victory lap over the Richard Seymour deal. During a radio interview, Jackson pooh-poohed the fact Oakland didn't have a first-round pick in 2011 by saying, "A lot of people say we didnt have a first-round draft pick, but we really felt like we did because obviously we got to retain the services of Richard Seymour, who we traded for and we felt we had the best first round draft pick in the draft. I feel very good about him and where hes headed."On September 6, 2009, the Patriots shipped Seymour to Oakland for the Raiders 2011 first-round pick. Since then, the Raiders have gotten two years of excellent production from Seymour. The Patriots now have Nate Solder. So the Raiders feel good about the deal and they should. They'veimproved from being the abject mess they were at the start of 2010 when Seymour was shipped out there. They were an upward-trending 5-11 in 2010 then went 8-8 in 2011, crushing the hopes Patriots loyalists harbored of New England getting a top-five pick for Seymour. Seymour's played at a Pro Bowl level for Oakland. Additionally, his professionalism has been credited with lifting the standards of his teammates. And for two years, the Patriots have missed the hell out of him. Let's get the qualifiers out of the way right now - the Patriots' hands were restrained financially because Seymour and Vince Wilfork both had contracts expiring after the 2010 season. They weren't willing to do massive deals for both players and could only slap the franchise tag on one of them after 2010 to restrict his movement. So they chose to move Seymour rather than risk getting nothing for him afterhe left in free agency. They've been able to re-signWilfork and TomBrady since Seymour left.And now they have Solder to take over for Matt Light and be a competent NFL tackle until about 2021 (whoa!). Seymour's performance level in Oakland exceeds what he didfor the Patriots in his final years here. Achange of venuemay have jump-started his career and rekindled his love for the game because, as dominant as he is, he wasn't dominating for the Patriots with consistency. The business side of football in New England wore him down. He just didn't understand why it had to be so complicated, why guys had to - as he believed - crawl to get paid. He made that clear to me many times. He didn't like the way he was treated. He didn't like the way teammates were treated. So, yes, it may have been a necessary divorce. And yes,the Patriots did get compensation for him. And that first-round compensation has been, as an astute poster on noted, like the Richard Seymour Annuitythat gives the Patriots huge latitude to make deals going forward. And the Patriots have been able to sign players while Seymour's now working under a new two-year deal worth 30 million (22 million guaranteed) after making 12.4 million last year. But the football thing? Simply put, the Patriots have been missing what the Raiders have been enjoying. The lack of consistent pressure generated by the Patriots defensive front, the need to move Wilfork all over the defensive line including the spot formerly occupied by Seymour, the absurd third-down conversion rates, the reliance on a fleet of young players drafted late to man the defensive line, it all makes you wonder how much better the Patriots would have been if they just dug deep and kept "Big Sey 93". Nate Solder may end up being a wonderful left tackle. But the two-season gap between when he'll likely start contributing and the exportation of Seymour is never going to be erased. Tom E. Curran can be reached at Follow Tom on Twitter at http:twitter.comtomecurran

Tom Brady delivers video message at funeral of Navy SEAL

Tom Brady delivers video message at funeral of Navy SEAL

Tom Brady delivered a video message last week at the funeral of Navy SEAL Kyle Milliken, a Maine native and former UConn track athlete killed in Somalia on May 5.

Bill Speros of The Boston Herald, in a column this Memorial Day weekend, wrote about Milliken and Brady's message.   

Milliken ran track at Cheverus High School in Falmouth, Maine, and at UConn, where he graduated in 2001. Milliken lived in Virginia Beach, Va., with his wife, Erin, and two children.  He other Navy SEALs participated in a training exercise at Gillette Stadium in 2011 where he met and posed for pictures with Brady.

Speros wrote that at Milliken’s funeral in Virginia Beach, Va., Brady's video offered condolences and thanked Milliken’s family for its sacrifice and spoke of how Milliken was considered a “glue guy” by UConn track coach Greg Roy.

Milliken had served in Iraq and Afghanistan, earning four Bronze Star Medals and was based in Virginia since 2004.  He was killed in a nighttime firefight with Al-Shabaab militants near Barij, about 40 miles from the Somali capital of Mogadishu. He was 38.

The Pentagon said Milliken was the first American serviceman killed in combat in Somalia since the "Black Hawk Down" battle that killed 18 Americans in 1993. 

In a statement to the Herald, Patriots owner Robert Kraft said: “It was an honor to host Kyle and his team for an exercise at Gillette Stadium in 2011. It gave new meaning to the stadium being known as home of the Patriots. We were deeply saddened to hear of Kyle’s death earlier this month.

“As Memorial Day weekend approaches, we are reminded of the sacrifices made by patriots like Kyle and so many others who have made the ultimate sacrifice to defend and protect our rights as Americans. Our thoughts, prayers and heartfelt appreciation are extended to the Milliken family and the many families who will be remembering lives lost this Memorial Day weekend.”