Friday, October 23, 2009
Seymour: 'This is where I want to be'
By Bill Williamson ESPN.com
Jim McIsaac/Getty Images
Richard Seymour has gradually made the adjustment to playing in Oakland.
Posted by ESPN.com’s Bill Williamson
It has been nearly seven weeks since Richard Seymour's world turned upside down. Although he’s clearly still adjusting to his trade from New England to Oakland, Seymour insists he’s happy with the Raiders.
Of course, I asked Seymour at the right time. I had caught up to him after Oakland’s surprise 13-9 win over Philadelphia on Sunday.
Seymour was a major reason Oakland won. He had two sacks as Oakland blitzed extensively for the first time this season. It was his best game as a Raider since Week 1, when he played on raw emotion and had two sacks less than 48 hours after arriving in Oakland.
When Seymour plays well, the entire Oakland defense plays well. It’s clear why the Raiders felt compelled to give up their first-round pick in 2011 to get him.
The Raiders want Seymour, 30, to finish his career in Oakland. He is a free agent after this season. Perhaps his mindset was altered by the sweet aroma of victory, but Seymour seemed willing to accommodate the Raiders.
Asked if he could see himself re-signing with Oakland, Seymour said: “Oh, yeah, I like it here a lot. I can see that happening.”
The Raiders and Seymour will likely commence contract talks shortly after the season. If the two sides can’t come to an agreement, Oakland could use the franchise tag on Seymour. With the Raiders owing New England a first-rounder, expect them to do everything they can to ensure Seymour remains a Raider in 2010. He made it sound as if it won’t be difficult.
“I want to be part of something special here,” Seymour said. “Days like this make you realize this thing can turn around here. I want to be here for the turnaround.”
Seymour believes the turnaround is coming sooner than later. He made headlines and raised eyebrows around the league this week when he predicted on a radio show that the Raiders will make the playoffs this season. He is clearly trying to parlay the excitement of the week and motivate his new teammates and fans.
Seymour got used to winning in New England, so the win over Philadelphia was a familiar and welcome feeling after three straight losses. He won three Super Bowls with the Patriots, and over the past six years he was a part of 53 more victories than Oakland.
Seymour thinks he can be part of the winning formula in Oakland.
“This can happen more often,” Seymour said. “We can win here. That’s why I’m here.”
Seymour insists he bought into playing with the Raiders even though it took him six days to report after the trade. Although he says he is happy in the Silver and Black, he admitted he is not thrilled with the way his New England tenure ended.
The trade completely blindsided him. He didn’t learn about the deal until it happened, the Sunday before the start of the season. Seymour was preparing for a Monday night opener against the Bills. He never dreamed he’d be preparing to play San Diego the same night as a Raider.
He found out about the trade from New England coach Bill Belichick in a short phone call.
I asked Seymour if he thought the way his departure from New England went down would cause free agents in the future to think twice about heading to New England. Seymour nodded but offered no verbal answer. He did say this: “You’d be surprised how many phone calls I received about the way they handled it.”
It still bothers Seymour that he wasn’t called into the Patriots’ offices after the trade.
“If the shoe was on the other foot, I wouldn’t have handled it the way they did,” Seymour said. “I would have called the guy in. But that’s just me.”
Oakland defensive tackle Gerard Warren said Seymour’s arrival was a major step in the right direction because Seymour oozes “winning tradition.” Seymour has brought both professionalism and a nasty demeanor to Oakland, Warren said. The latter was on display in Week 3 against Denver, when Seymour (who long had a reputation for being a physical, mean player) pulled the hair of Broncos left tackle Ryan Clady. He was fined $7,500.
“Seymour gives us a toughness,” Warren said. “He’s just a ballplayer. He’s a champion. Richard is the type of guy I want on my side no matter what I’m doing. Whether it’s playing football, fishing or chopping wood, I want Richard Seymour on my side.”
Seymour has no plans to go anywhere. Even though the Raiders and the Patriots were playing at the same time on Sunday afternoon, Seymour knew one major difference. The Raiders were playing in comfortable California weather. The Patriots were playing in a New England snowstorm.
“You saw what was happening there,” Seymour said. “This is nice. This is where I want to be.”