Patriots familiar with what Seymour brings


Patriots familiar with what Seymour brings

By A. Sherrod Blakely Celtics Insider
Follow @sherrodbcsn FOXBORO When you talk about intangibles in sports, you'll frequently hear about leadership.

For all the impressive sacks Richard Seymour stockpiled with the New England Patriots and now the Oakland Raiders, it is his leadership that may best define who he is.

You're going to hear all week about how Oakland's Darren McFadden is tearing up the NFL rushing the ball. You'll hear about the Raiders and all their big-playmakers, like fifth-round pick Denarius Moore who is averaging 20 yards per catch this season.

But for all that talk, for all of the Raiders (2-1) success in the early part of this season, Seymour's presence on the field and inside the locker room has been just as vital.

"He brings a lot of veteran leadership to that group," said Patriots tackle Matt Light, who has had many battles in Patriots practice with Seymour. "He's a smart player. I'm sure he's one of the guys that keeps everybody in line. They're a good group."

And Seymour has certainly played a pivotal role in the Raiders success defensively. They come into Sunday's game ranked 4th in sacks, with 10. Seymour, who has 10 tackles this season, has also registered 2.5 sacks. But again, numbers only scratch the surface when talking about his impact.

For Raiders rookie head coach Hue Jackson, having a veteran with Seymour's leadership skills has only made his transition from coordinator to head coach, smoother.

"Obviously, Seymour came from New England, has done a great job here of being, one, a pro, two, mentoring our players or making them understand what it takes to be the best they can be, and he's been tremendous to our staff because he's a leader of men and he understands what it takes to get this job done week after week. He's been unbelievable for this organization."

Several factors went into the Patriot's decision to part ways with Seymour prior to the 2009 season, with none appearing larger than the looming free agency of Vincent Wilfork.

With both Seymour and Wilfork hitting the free agent market after the 2009 season, coupled with the looming free agency of Logan Mankins, the Patriots elected to ship Seymour off to the Raiders for a future first-round pick used by the Pats to select Nate Solder in the first round of this year's NFL draft.

"Richard Seymour is everything we thought he would be and a little bit more," Jackson said. "I tell everybody, he was our first-round draft pick this year. I'm very happy about what happened as far as the trade to here, and he's playing well for us."

Patriots quarterback Tom Brady has seen Seymour's work ethic on a day-in, day-out basis. And yes, his leadership skills are evident, too.

But Brady is more concerned with how the Pats deal with Seymour, the defensive lineman.

"He's a tough, hard-nosed football player that loves the game," Brady said. "You can see that by the way he plays. He really gets after the quarterback. He plays the run well. He's obviously a leader in that defensive front there. And when he gets going, they all get going. That's the thing, they all rally around him. When he makes his plays, then they all start making plays. So it's important for us to try to figure out ways to slow him down."

A. Sherrod Blakely can be reached at Follow Sherrod on Twitter at http:twitter.comsherrodbcsn

Rob Gronkowski appears to thoroughly enjoy himself at Daytona 500

Rob Gronkowski appears to thoroughly enjoy himself at Daytona 500

New England Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski attended the Dayton 500 in true Gronkowski form.

He appeared to be there promoting Monster Energy drink, and was therefore hanging with the Monster Girls, who were also promoting the drink. Gronkowski's herniated disc injury, which required surgery in December 2016, does not seem to be slowing him down as he gets warmed up for the Summer of Gronk.

During the race coverage on FOX Sports, Gronk delivered a speed limit joke, which is sure to make the 13-year-old in you chuckle. (You can watch it here.)


Curran: It's time to let the air out of Deflategate

Curran: It's time to let the air out of Deflategate

I think it’s time. Time to let the Deflategate wound scab over. Time to exit the active, raging, teeth-gnashing, petition-signing, lawsuit-filing portion of the program and let the hate follow its natural course into a slow-boil loathing.

If you are of Irish descent, you know how it works. Clear a big-ass space on the grudge shelf. Put Roger Goodell, Jeff Pash, Mike Kensil, Troy Vincent, Ryan Grigson, Jim Irsay, every shiv-wielding owner, all the cluck-clucking media and the legion of retired players and exiled GMs from Marshall Faulk to Joey Porter through Marty Hurney and into Bill Polian up there. Turn off light. Leave room.

When you need to piss yourself off -- in traffic, mowing the lawn, waiting for your coffee -- fetch ‘em down, blow the dust off and when you’re in a sufficiently foul mood, return grudge to shelf.

You rode the roller coaster. You’ve been there, done that and have all the T-shirts.

I came to this conclusion a few days ago, when ESPN’s Cari Champion interviewed Rob Gronkowski and asked about Goodell visiting Gillette. It was like playing “Get the Stick!” with a big goofy Lab. Champion threw the leading question, Gronk fetched -- tail-wagging --  and returned with a slobbery response that was completely implausible but still designed to dominate a four-hour news cycle.

"The fans are nuts, they’re wild, and they have the Patriots’ back no matter what,” said Gronkowski. “They have [Tom Brady’s] back. I’m telling you, he won’t get through the highway if the fans saw him. I don’t even think he can even land in the airport in Boston because Patriot fans are the best fans, they’re the most loyal fans. I’m telling you, they might just carry out Roger themselves. They couldn’t even get to the stadium in Foxboro if he landed in Boston."

Gronk’s just doing what he thinks he’s supposed to do. And Champion is, too. It’s like shooting fish in a barrel.

Watch these mooks up in New England get all pissed off: “Hey, hey, Chowderhead . . . Roger Goodell . . . . ”

“F*** that guy, he better never show his face in Foxboro! But I want him to come to Foxboro so I can boo the ever-living s*** out of him and maybe barricade Route 1 like Gronk said we would!”

See? Works every time.

The irony is that the person mainly responsible for turning up the burner on this is Robert Kraft.

In May 2015, Kraft said at the owners meetings in San Francisco, “I don’t want to continue the rhetoric that’s gone on for the last four months. I’m going to accept, reluctantly, what he has given to us, and not continue this dialogue and rhetoric, and we won’t appeal.

“Now, I know that a lot of Patriots fans are going to be disappointed in that decision, but I hope they trust my judgment and know that I really feel at this point in time that taking this off the agenda, this is the best thing for the New England Patriots, our fans, and the NFL, and I hope you all can respect that.”

Well, that blew up like an ACME bomb. And -- from that moment on -- Kraft has tried to recoup the fanbase that believed he sold them out by issuing a succession of calls-to-arms that the region has dutifully responded to.

The most recent was throwing down the gauntlet to Goodell by expressly inviting him to the 2017 season opener.  I mean, it would have been a conversation point anyway, but now it’s metastasized into something that will be discussed throughout the offseason, ratcheting up in early September and hitting a crescendo on opening night.

There is appeal to seeing Goodell squirm while knowing the Maras, Rooneys and Irsays will be sipping highballs and lamenting the caddish treatment of Poor Roger. But I still like the football better.

Conversation about the historic import of SB51, the legacy of Brady and Belichick, prospects for the league in 2017? I’ll take those rather than an ESPN “personality” who spent a weekend in Newburyport at a friend’s wedding telling everyone what the mindset of the New England sports fan is.  

But that’s not what we’re going to get. There will instead be ever-escalating predictions of the terrors Goodell will be subjected to fueled by interviews with tatted-up kids from the mean streets of Marshfield who wanted “Hoodie” fired when he let Revis sign with the Jets.

Unless . . . unless the region en masse decides to let its loathing mature. Mature to the point that when the carrot gets dangled in its collective face it doesn’t leap at it with teeth bared but instead says, “No thanks. Already full.”

Yeah. I don’t think it’s gonna happen either.