Patriots familiar with what Seymour brings

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Patriots familiar with what Seymour brings

By A. Sherrod Blakely
CSNNE.com 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 sblakely@comcastsportsnet.com. Follow Sherrod on Twitter at http:twitter.comsherrodbcsn

Patriots get roster exemption for Ebner, add TE Pascoe and OL Halapio

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Patriots get roster exemption for Ebner, add TE Pascoe and OL Halapio

FOXBORO -- The Patriots, as expected, have been given a roster exemption for safety Nate Ebner. Therefore, while Ebner is playing for the USA Rugby Men's Sevens team in the Rio Olympics, his spot will not count against New England's 90-man roster. 

"I’ve talked to Nate several times," coach Bill Belichick said on Wednesday. "Wish him well in his endeavor. It’s a great opportunity for him to follow his passion, participate in the Olympic Games. We’re pulling for him to bring back something around his neck."

With the roster exemption, the Patriots found themselves at 88 players on their roster. In order to fill their last two openings, they signed offensive lineman Jon Halapio and tight end Bear Pascoe, Belichick announced. 

Halapio, a product of the University of Florida, was a sixth-round selection by the Patriots in 2014. He was released at the end of training camp that year, and he later landed on the Broncos practice squad in December of 2014. Before the start of last season, Halapio signed with the Cardinals. He was released on Sept. 5. 

In between NFL gigs, Halapio has spent time with the Boston Brawlers and the Brooklyn Bolts, both of the Fall Experimental Football League. 

Pascoe, 30, is in his eighth NFL season. He has spent time with the Giants, Falcons and Lions, primarily as a blocking tight end. In his career, the 6-foot-5, 257-pounder has caught 40 passes for 336 yards and two touchdowns in 85 career games. 

Ebner will participate in the Olympic rugby competition with Team USA beginning on Aug. 6, and fellow Patriots special teams ace Mathew Slater will be paying attention.

"I’m just so happy for him," Slater said. "And I know why rugby means so much to him, and many of us are familiar with the situation with his father, and his father obviously introduced him to the game of [rugby]. So, that connection with father and son is bigger than sport itself.

"I know this means a great deal to him and we’re all excited for him. I’m just trying to figure out where I can get my Ebner rugby jersey. I’ll be supporting him and watching him along the way."