To say I was surprised when I first heard and then read that the New England Patriots had indeed traded their defensive stalwart , Richard Seymour to the Oakland Raiders. Well, let’s just say that as a die-hard Patriots’ fan , it left me feeling somewhat devastated. As, he’s one of my favorite players on the Patriots’ roster.
And while I don’t deny that the Patriots’ coach Bill Belichick is a genius . OK , stop it , those of you who still see him as a cheat ! In the words of Rodney King ‘…..why just can’t we all just get along ?’ It’s over and done with !
This move , I may well have to question as to the sanity of it all ! There’s no denying that the Patriots are still something of a formidable team. But in terms of sheer leadership on the defensive side of the ball. It was to the likes of Tedy Bruschi, Mike Vrabel , Rodney Harrison and indeed Seymour, who formed the linch-pin for the team , as far as that was concerned. That I for one would’ve thought that the team would be in need of Seymour, his presence but above all his leadership qualities. With Bruschi and Rodney Harrison , now retired . And Vrabel being sent into oblivion to ply his wares with the Kansas City Chiefs. The thought of this team being without Seymour there to helm the defensive line sends shudders down my spine. It was bad enough seeing Tom Brady not being adequately protected by his offensive line in Superbowl XLII . Especially after the injury sustained by then , guard, Stephen Neal . Thereafter, the New York Giants were simply allowed to have their way with the team. Justin Tuck, Osi Umenyiora and Michael Strahan must’ve felt that Christmas had come early for them.
ESPN’s annoucement that Seymour had been traded to the Oakland Raiders.
Courtesy of Yahoo Sports and AP :
Foxborough-MASS,.(AP) Bill Belichick says he’ll deal with any developments in the Richard Seymour trade when they happen.
Asked Wednesday if he was monitoring the situation closely , Belichick said the Patriots are monitoring the Buffalo Bills closely. They play the Bills on Monday night in a season opener.
And when told that Seymour could end up back with the Patriots , the coach said he’ll deal with whatever happens when it happens.
On Monday, Belichick said he wouldn’t answer questions about Seymour because the team doesn’t have the rights to him.
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And now with that debacle seemingly behind the team. We now go into the 2009-10 season , with a fresh set of goals to pursue. And with the AFC East now afresh with new blood and the likes of the New York Jets and Miami Dolphins seemingly resurgent. That’s not to say that I’m writing off the Buffalo Bills. But as we all know ‘absolutely no one circles the wagons like the Buffalo Bills.’ The division is there, and with more than a great deal to play for. We can if anything , still view the New England Patriots as the prohibitive favorites to win the division outright. But to my mind the task of winning the Superbowl itself , just became somewhat more difficult with the loss of Seymour.
The maneuver by the team may well be viewed as once again them being financially frugal. The player however, was closing in on the end of his current contract. And if anything, was looking for a long term renewal -perhaps raising the ante as to its financial value. It’s certainly not clear as to whether or not there was an impasse as to the negotiations surrounding Seymour’s contract. As neither side had made a public statement. But as we all know with the Patriots, they’ve always remained secretive when it comes to such things. But yet again there’s the feeling that a player is always in the unenviable position of not knowing whether or not he’s of value to franchise. Especially when it comes to the renegotiating of a contract of a seasoned veteran. Loyalty, much like pendulum swings both ways. But with the NFL there is no loyalty beyond the efforts of the player on the field of play. As long he’s performing then he’s bound to get paid. But there are in-fact times when a player is looked upon as being no longer a valuable asset. And then he’s discarded much like a well worn old pair of shoes. They’ll still no doubt fit but they’re no longer desirable to its particular owner. Once discarded there’s always someone there to take a liking to an old pair shoes. In this case it happened to be the Oakland Raiders. Of whom it can be said …..they’ve always been willing to accept everyone else’s cast-offs’.
However, I do believe that this particular maneuver could indeed come back to haunt the New England Patriots. They may well be viewed as a team where there’s always a familial atmosphere , where there’s said to be no voice of dissent. But in actuality this could set off a tumult of discord within the franchise. Belichick may well have that Svengali like approach when it comes to the running of the franchise. And granted , he alongside then GM, Scott Pioli , were the architects behind the renaissance of the franchise and their success. I do believe however, that this time around, Belichick has made a profound mistake with this trade. I don’t even think that the team’s signing of former Raiders’ player, Derrick Burgess – a player, who shall we say, is of limited ability when measured against that of Seymour. But yet within the mindset of Belichick , this seemingly makes things alright , as he views it.
In the case of Seymour despite an injury he was still very passionate about the game. And unquestionably one couldn’t deny the leadership qualities he brought to the franchise. He led by example and his teammates willingly followed. Now with the trade , Seymour has yet to report to the Raiders. And both organizations it’d appear , are at a loss for words. As to what the outcome of this may well be . One can only but take the approach of wait and see. As it now stands there’s a distinct feeling that as things are now playing out. There isn’t liable to be a happy ending for either party.