Curran: In retrospect, Pats blew call on Seymour


Curran: In retrospect, Pats blew call on Seymour

By Tom E. Curran
Raiders coach Hue Jackson recently took a tiny victory lap over the Richard Seymour deal. During a radio interview, Jackson pooh-poohed the fact Oakland didn't have a first-round pick in 2011 by saying, "A lot of people say we didnt have a first-round draft pick, but we really felt like we did because obviously we got to retain the services of Richard Seymour, who we traded for and we felt we had the best first round draft pick in the draft. I feel very good about him and where hes headed."On September 6, 2009, the Patriots shipped Seymour to Oakland for the Raiders 2011 first-round pick. Since then, the Raiders have gotten two years of excellent production from Seymour. The Patriots now have Nate Solder. So the Raiders feel good about the deal and they should. They'veimproved from being the abject mess they were at the start of 2010 when Seymour was shipped out there. They were an upward-trending 5-11 in 2010 then went 8-8 in 2011, crushing the hopes Patriots loyalists harbored of New England getting a top-five pick for Seymour. Seymour's played at a Pro Bowl level for Oakland. Additionally, his professionalism has been credited with lifting the standards of his teammates. And for two years, the Patriots have missed the hell out of him. Let's get the qualifiers out of the way right now - the Patriots' hands were restrained financially because Seymour and Vince Wilfork both had contracts expiring after the 2010 season. They weren't willing to do massive deals for both players and could only slap the franchise tag on one of them after 2010 to restrict his movement. So they chose to move Seymour rather than risk getting nothing for him afterhe left in free agency. They've been able to re-signWilfork and TomBrady since Seymour left.And now they have Solder to take over for Matt Light and be a competent NFL tackle until about 2021 (whoa!). Seymour's performance level in Oakland exceeds what he didfor the Patriots in his final years here. Achange of venuemay have jump-started his career and rekindled his love for the game because, as dominant as he is, he wasn't dominating for the Patriots with consistency. The business side of football in New England wore him down. He just didn't understand why it had to be so complicated, why guys had to - as he believed - crawl to get paid. He made that clear to me many times. He didn't like the way he was treated. He didn't like the way teammates were treated. So, yes, it may have been a necessary divorce. And yes,the Patriots did get compensation for him. And that first-round compensation has been, as an astute poster on noted, like the Richard Seymour Annuitythat gives the Patriots huge latitude to make deals going forward. And the Patriots have been able to sign players while Seymour's now working under a new two-year deal worth 30 million (22 million guaranteed) after making 12.4 million last year. But the football thing? Simply put, the Patriots have been missing what the Raiders have been enjoying. The lack of consistent pressure generated by the Patriots defensive front, the need to move Wilfork all over the defensive line including the spot formerly occupied by Seymour, the absurd third-down conversion rates, the reliance on a fleet of young players drafted late to man the defensive line, it all makes you wonder how much better the Patriots would have been if they just dug deep and kept "Big Sey 93". Nate Solder may end up being a wonderful left tackle. But the two-season gap between when he'll likely start contributing and the exportation of Seymour is never going to be erased. Tom E. Curran can be reached at Follow Tom on Twitter at http:twitter.comtomecurran

Former Patriots defensive end Chris Long is donating his salary


Former Patriots defensive end Chris Long is donating his salary

PHILADELPHIA - Chris Long is donating the rest of his year's salary to increase educational equality.

The Philadelphia Eagles' defensive end already gave up his first six game checks to provide two scholarships for students in Charlottesville, Virginia. Now, he's using the next 10 to launch the Pledge 10 for Tomorrow campaign.

"My wife and I have been passionate about education being a gateway for upward mobility and equality," Long told The Associated Press. "I think we can all agree that equity in education can help affect change that we all want to see in this country."

Long signed a two-year, $4.5 million contract with the Eagles, including a $500,000 signing bonus and $1.5 million guaranteed. His base salary in 2017 is $1 million.

The charitable initiative encourages people to make donations to improve equal education opportunities. Long began his career in St. Louis in 2008 and played for the Super Bowl champion New England Patriots last season. Long's foundation has selected four organizations whose missions focus on making education easily accessible to underserved youth while also providing students the support they need to develop strong social and emotional character.

The four organizations are based in the three communities in which Long has played during his NFL career. The city that raises the most money during the season will receive an additional $50,000 donation.

"There's a lot of opportunities to help out and they're wonderful organizations," Long said. "We have such a great platform as football players and hopefully fans get behind it."

Long grew up in Charlottesville and starred in high school at St. Anne's-Belfield before going to the University of Virginia. He was moved to start the scholarship program following the violent protests in Charlottesville in August.

"Our hometown is a wonderful place and I feel like people got the wrong idea about what the residents of Charlottesville are all about," he said.


Gronkowski advises Hayward to treat rehab like anything else -- dominate

Gronkowski advises Hayward to treat rehab like anything else -- dominate

FOXBORO -- Rob Gronkowski's never suffered a break like the one Gordon Hayward did on Tuesday night, but he has been through enough to know what lies ahead as the Celtics forward stares at a lengthy recovery period.

"I saw it. I mean, I wish him nothing but wellness," Gronkowski said on Wednesday. "Hopefully he heals ASAP. You never want to see that with a player in any sport. When my friend showed me that last night, you get that feeling in your body, like, your heart drops. I wish him well.

"I can't wait to see him back. I know he's going to bounce back. Being here in Boston, he's going to be a hard worker it feels like. I can't wait to see him back."


Multiple back surgeries, a plate in his arm, a surgically-repaired ACL . . . Gronkowski has put in his share of rehabilitation work. Asked if he'd give Hayward any advice as he embarks on his road back to normalcy, Gronkowski's message was simple.

"Just go into rehab just like you go into anything else. Dominate it," Gronkowski said. "Come back when you feel ready. Come back when you're 100 percent . . . He wouldn't be where he is now if he wasn't a hard worker. I don't know the guy. Never met him. But it's not something you want to see as an athlete happen to anyone else."

Gronkowski acknowledged that in his experience, one of the biggest hurdles following an injury like that is the mental one. You quickly go from being a powerful athlete to a patient in need of help with even the smallest of tasks. 

"There is a big mental challenge, definitely, with that," Gronkowski explained. "It's not just not being able to be with your teammates and all that. It's outside of football, too. Because it takes away your whole life, going out like that . . . You can't do anything. You can't walk. You gotta have people do [things for you]. You get really frustrated. You just want the people around you to help you out and keep you in the best mindset throughout the whole process."