NFL cooking up Richard Seymour a hot plate of humble pie

Stephen Dunn

Richard Seymour has been treated well over his station for quite some time and reality is now starting to set it.

Just last season, Richard Seymour was one of the highest paid defensive linemen in the NFL. He had been one of the highest paid for a number of years and at one time perhaps he deserved it.

Those days are gone for Seymour. They actually lasted longer than they should have because of the hefty contract he received from the Raiders when he was acquired in trade with the New England Patriots where he hadn't made a Pro Bowl in three seasons.

When he arrived in Oakland, he was already on a downturn but was still considered among the best defensive linemen in the game. The problem was, there was no way he would still be worth his contract by the time it was up and so his eventual release was inevitable.

In last year's training camp Seymour was seen standing on the sideline more than he was actually practicing. In previous seasons, he was among the veterans who got regular days off practice but last year on top of those days, he was also battling chronic knee pain.

Midway through camp, Myself and Vic Tafur of the San Francisco Chronicle spoke with Seymour. At the time, the hot story was about how he said he thought the Raiders could be a top 5 defense and he even used the Patriots as an example of how a defense could be underestimated.

Not only was the Raiders defense just as bad, if not worse than expected, but Seymour was ineffective with those bad knees the first half of the season before being sidelined for the latter half.

But it wasn't Seymour's controversial prediction that stuck with me from that conversation.

The part of that conversation that I couldn't really stop thinking about was when Vic asked him about being the highest paid defensive lineman in the league. He insisted that he was no longer the highest paid player, citing Julius Peppers and Mario Williams as having surpassed him.

Then he joked that "I need to load back up (laughs)... The guys came and took my throne away.... I'm looking to get back, yeah." I understood it as a joke and didn't make anything of it, but something still seemed unsettling about a player, especially one nearing the final years of his career, focusing so heavily on who is making more money than he is.

Now 33, if he were to still be under contract with the Raiders, he would again be the highest paid defensive lineman. His salary against the cap was set at $19 million. The Raiders had put a playing time clause in his contract that would give them the option to void it while taking a $13 million bath and they exercised it. Not that they had much choice, that is still a much needed $6 million savings.

It is about nine months since he joked about being the highest paid defensive lineman and over four months since his contract was voided and remains unemployed.

Then this week, for the first time, news came out of him visiting the Falcons. Seymour lives near Atlanta in the offseason so Initially it seemed his becoming a Falcon was going to happen. However, shortly thereafter things broke down and word is they couldn't agree on financial details.

There are likely two things at work here and they are both classic Richard Seymour. 1) He simply wants too much money. 2) He doesn't want to sign with a team until OTA's and minicamps are over so he won't be required to show up and practice. Most likely it's a combination of the two

The humble pie is bubbling and he will be served it soon enough. He has to realize he is not the player he once was both due to age and injury and he will have to be content with the gobs of cash he has already made in his career (even when he was undeserving) because it's that or forced retirement from football.

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