Seymour tight-lipped about seeing old team

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Seymour tight-lipped about seeing old team

By Tom E. Curran
CSNNE.com Patriots Insider Follow @tomecurran

FOXBORO - Richard Seymour's conference call visit with the New England media on Wednesday was noteworthy more for what he didn't say than what he did.

The first first-round draft choice during the Bill Belichick era, traded away suddenly in September 2009, was all business during the call.

At the end, Seymour was asked, "Are you hoping to catch up with Bill Belichick at all, before or after the game on Sunday?"

Seymour replied, "All my teammates out there. I dont have a problem with any of them."

The response is open to interpretation.

Seymour may have meant that, in addition to Belichick, he's hoping to catch up with "all (his) teammates out there."

Or he could have been specifically omitting Belichick and saying that he has no problem with any of his former teammates.

Whatever the answer truly meant is nice fodder for speculation about grudges and hurt feelings. Suffice to say Belichick isn't on Seymour's Christmas card list. But will their strained relationship impact this game? Probably not much.

Seymour would be motivated whether he was traded or left as a free agent. And his talking points Wednesday were torn from the Patriots' guide to speaking to the media. Few specifics. Short, to-the-point answers.

"Its a big game for us," acknowledged Seymour. "We have to bring our A game in order to beat them. This is a team that we respect and they have a lot of good players, so well put our best foot forward."

Seymour wasn't willing to discuss the deal that delivered New England a first-round draft pick last April (Nate Solder).

He said simply, "For me it was a business decision. They could have gone in any route that they wanted to in terms of the draft. I dont really get caught up in who they got and what pick was it. I cant control any of that. The only thing I can control is how well I go out and play and continue to do that. Thats really it from my standpoint. I dont really look at it any other way."

Seymour's play and his off-field influence on the team was a frequent touchstone Wednesday.

Asked about his former teammate, Tom Brady said, "Hes obviously a leader in that defensive front there and when he gets going, they all get going. Thats the thing, they really rally around him. When he makes his plays, then they all start making plays. So its got to be important for us to try to figure out ways to slow him down."

The only person Seymour discussed specifically was the late Myra Kraft. Seymour came to her funeral in July.

"For me, Myra was a great lady, she was great to the Kraft family - was great to me and my family," he explained. "I have a lot of respect for her and I just wanted to pay my respects. It isnt anything about football its about life. You know how valuable and precious life is.

"I know how much Mr. Kraft cared for his wife and loved her and he was always an example for me and my wife to follow in terms of how he treated her and how she treated him. For me, its about the type of person you are at the end of the day, so I just wanted to go and pay my respects."

Tom E. Curran can be reached at tcurran@comcastsportsnet.com. Follow Tom on Twitter at http:twitter.comtomecurran.

Despite discord, Goodell's reign may not be nearing end

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Despite discord, Goodell's reign may not be nearing end

Monday may have marked a low point in the relationship between the NFL and its on-field employees.

The fight between the league and its best player of the past two decades was in the headlines again. Tom Brady, tied to the NFL’s bumper and dragged around for almost 500 days, had his NFLPA legal team baring its teeth again in the Deflategate mess. The eye-gouging and hair-pulling in that imbroglio over a puff of air allegedly being removed from footballs has cost the league and the PA about $25M so far.

Meanwhile, NFLPA President Eric Winston was saying the league "cannot be trusted to do the right thing when it involves players.” That comment flowed from a Congressional report alleging the NFL tried to exert influence over who would conduct studies regarding Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE), the condition that’s been blamed for a myriad of former players winding up addled, incapacitated or dead.

I say “may have marked” because the relationship between the two sides has cratered so frequently over the past two years, it’s hard to know exactly what the low point has been. Or how much lower it can go.

And, with the 10-year Collective Bargaining Agreement only half done, there is ample opportunity for things to get worse. Because, really, why would they get better?

With the NFL’s owners safe knowing that their emperor/puppet/human shield is still in place to take the hits and do their dirty work, there’s seemingly no groundswell among that group to relieve Roger Goodell of his duties. Despite reports of growing owner discontent over Deflategate, the Ray Rice investigation, and an appeal of a case in which the league was found to have withheld $100M from players, there is no Sword of Damocles dangling over the league to cut ties with Goodell.

He was able to oversee the league’s re-entry in Los Angeles (though that “triumph” was fraught with owner acrimony), is going to get a game played in China, keeps edging closer to getting a franchise based in Europe and may even land one in Las Vegas, has enhanced the league’s reach on social media (the announcement of some games being aired on Twitter) and keeps making billions hand over fist.

Goodell’s presence won’t be an impediment to a new labor deal getting done for another five years. By then, when the issues of Goodell’s role in player discipline, drug testing and his relationship with the union come to the fore, the owners might feel compelled to cut him loose after 15 seasons in charge.

But even then, the league’s owners will be in the business of pointing out to the players how good they’ve had it under the current CBA. The league’s salary cap structure – decried as a disaster in the first years of the deal – has seen the cap grow from $120M in 2011 to $155M this year. Players’ practice time and the wear and tear on their bodies has been reduced thanks to the new limits on contact enacted. Benefits are better. Retired players are getting better care. Players have more off-field marketing opportunities with companies that want to affix themselves to the most popular sport in the United States.

As bad as the headlines have been for Goodell, in five years (or probably fewer since negotiations on a new CBA will begin in 2020) who will remember the disaster that’s been Deflategate? How inspired will players be to miss games and paychecks for the satisfaction of knowing Goodell can’t be his own arbitrator anymore?

To sum it up, Goodell’s dark disciplinary reign may well continue unabated for a few more seasons. But as long as the league rains money on its players through the end of this decade, the clock isn’t ticking on Goodell and the owners in the form of labor strife.

Smith: Brady made an 'incredibly generous offer' to settle Deflategate

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Smith: Brady made an 'incredibly generous offer' to settle Deflategate

NFLPA executive director DeMaurice Smith joined the Dan Patrick Show -- hosted by Ross Tucker on Monday -- to discuss the petition that was eventually filed to the Second Circuit requesting a rehearing for Tom Brady's case. 

During the discussion, Smith insisted that Brady made a settlement offer long ago that might've resolved things. But because the NFL wanted more, a deal was never struck. Now here we are, almost 500 days since the AFC Championship Game in January of 2015, and Deflategate is still a living, breathing thing. 

"Tom's a standup guy," Smith said. "And I think he made a settlement offer to resolve this. The league chose not to take it, and that's where we are . . . I don't want to go into details, but it was an incredibly generous offer to resolve this. The league asked for something that no man should agree to do."

Patriots Insider Tom E. Curran explained on Monday's episode of Quick Slants that Brady was willing to accept a one-game suspension for a lack of cooperation at the outset of the investigation. But the league was looking for a face to take the blame, Curran explained. 

Both Jim McNally and John Jastremski were willing to take the heat off of Brady, but Brady insisted that he would not throw anyone else under the bus because he believed that there was no wrongdoing on his part or anyone else's when it came to the preparation of game footballs. 

With no one offered up to shoulder the blame, the NFL declined to agree to any proposal from Brady's camp. At that point, it would have been almost impossible to predict that this case would one day be only a step or two from getting the US Supreme Court involved. 

Yet here we are.