PHOTO: New England Patriots defensive lineman All-Pro Richard Seymour arrives for his first practice at training camp in Foxboro, Mass., Wednesday, Aug. 3, 2005. Seymour, who had been holding out due to contract issues, signed a renegotiated deal on Tuesday. (AP Photo/ Robert E. Klein)
Seymour Glad To Be Back
By Patriots Insider Staff
FOXBOROUGH It was a hot day, but a happy day for fans watching the Patriots practice. It was the first time the crowd was treated to seeing veteran defensive lineman Richard Seymour participate in drills with the rest of his teammates.
Seymour ended his holdout of camp arriving in town Tuesday, and joining the rest of the team on the field Wednesday after passing his physical and conditioning test. His absence was over a contract dispute in which he had voiced his displeasure by skipping minicamp and part of training camp.
Seymour was working under year four of a six-year deal, $14.3 million deal he signed as a rookie. By all accounts, it was a situation, which grossly underpaid one of the top defensive linemen in the league.
"We found some common ground, that's what it is,'' said Seymour. "So I'm back on the field at this point.''
Seymour's absence raised concerns that the team would take a hard line in the negotiations, refusing to redo a deal with more than one year remaining in accordance with team policy. It was a distraction for his teammates who supported his decision to take care of business but declined to admit not having him around would bode ill for the season.
"We don't need any one player," Patriots linebacker Mike Vrabel said. "Now that he's here he's going to help us."
Earlier in camp, safety Rodney Harrison remarked that he had talked to Seymour during the holdout, and that he was in good spirits. "He's fine. He's happy," Harrison said. "He's smiling, he's working hard, he's spending time with his family. Whenever he comes back, he'll be fine."
Harrison continued to support his friend as camp wore on. "He's like a brother to me. When you have people whom you care about, of course you support them."
Now that Seymour is back, Harrison was the first to greet the big fellow, giving him a hug and telling him he was glad to have him back.
While Seymour was out, the team was busy going through drills, installing new plays, and running conditioning sprints before and after practice. What did Seymour do while he teammates were sweating it out? He ran some of his own conditioning drills. Actually he ran a number of different one from different teams to see if he could pass them.
Every day, I tried to do someone else's conditioning test, just to try and stay in shape,'' Seymour said. ``I got to say, Cleveland's test is tough. They do something like three, 300-yard shuttles, or something like that. The first day, I don't know if I would have passed. But the next day, I did it.''
Seymour passed the Patriots test, apparently with ease. That's better than fellow defensive lineman Ethan Kelly, who reportedly failed his test before being released.
Seymour looks forward to getting ready for the season in spite of being in decent condition. He says he's not in football shape in spite of working out regularly. ``I have some rust on right now. It's about coming into training camp and knocking some of that rust off. I still have to brush up on a lot of technique things. I'm in pretty good shape. But I still have to get in football shape. That's a totally different ball game. That comes through practice."
Whether or not Seymour's contract issue is behind him is a matter of debate. He received an adjustment to his deal for the 2005 season reportedly boosting his pay to around $4 million from the $2.87 million he was scheduled to earn. However, that does not address his contract for the final year of his deal, something he hopes to resolve soon.
For now the all-pro is glad to be back, and looking forward to staying in New England for a long time. "My goal one day is to retire a Patriot," Seymour said. "That's something that's important to me. It's not totally in my control, but hopefully we can get it done. We're just taking it one day at a time at this point."
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