Former New England Patriots defensive end Richard Seymour is among the 15 finalists for the 2020 Pro Football Hall of Fame class, and Tom Brady is among the people trying to bolster his case.
The final vote for the 2020 class will take place Saturday, just before Sunday night's Super Bowl LIV matchup between the San Francisco 49ers and Kansas City Chiefs.
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Brady wrote a lengthy letter to the Pro Football Hall of Fame selection committee explaining what made Seymour so special, and how he made a great impact on three Super Bowl-winning teams during his tenure in New England. The Patriots posted Brady's letter -- along with letters from head coach Bill Belichick and Hall of Famer Andre Tippett -- to the team website Wednesday. You can read Brady's remarks below.
Dear Pro Football Hall of Fame Selection Committee,
I am writing in support of Richard Seymour's candidacy for the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Over the course of my 20 years in the NFL, I have had the pleasure of playing against, playing with and knowing personally many of the Pro Hall of Fame inductees. Each of them, in their own right, changed the game in some way. All of them were elite players. In Richard's case, he affected the culture and dominance of our team from the day he arrived.
As someone who faced him every day in practice for eight seasons, I can tell you, Richard Seymour was a menace. At 6-6 and nearly 320 pounds, he was tall, yet an immovable object, with the ability to wreak havoc in the trenches. He was smart, he understood the game and accepted his responsibilities. He had an unusual combination of size, strength, speed and athleticism. Coach Belichick stresses the importance of playing complementary football, and no one had a greater impact on what we could do defensively than Richard. He was a selfless player who accepted the roles he was assigned, knowing the impact it would have on the entire defense. As a result, he made everyone better. I know facing those defenses in practice early in my career challenged me daily and helped me develop as a player.
Richard was drafted sixth overall in the 2001 NFL draft and started in his first NFL game. That year, the defense didn't give up more than 17 points in each of our last nine games which propelled us to our first Super Bowl Championship in franchise history. Richard was named a team captain in just his second season and became a perennial All-Pro and Pro Bowl player. Looking back at that time, I have an even greater appreciation for the roles he played on our defense, which powered us to six division titles and three Super Bowl Championships during his eight-year Patriots career.
For a coach who loves to utilize a player's versatility, Richard was the perfect Patriot. He had the size and speed to play on the outside on the defensive line, but the strength and quickness to play inside, too. You simply aren't going to find many 6-6 players who can line up on the nose and still dominate the line of scrimmage. That type of flexibility allowed our coaches to transition from a 3-4 to a 4-3, often times with similar personnel, allowing us to disguise our looks and create matchup problems for our opponents. His speed and athleticism were on full display when he returned a fumble 68 yards for a touchdown. And his leadership as a player who put the team first was always a constant. Not only did he accept the selfless role and responsibilities in a two-gap defense, but he was eager and willing to contribute on special teams and even as a fullback in our goal-line offense. In my 20-year career, I've never seen an All-Pro volunteer for those roles as eagerly as Richard did. He was the epitome of a team-first player.
I appreciate the time and effort this committee puts into the decision process. I wouldn't write if I didn't fully endorse Richard Seymour as a deserving candidate for the Pro Football Hall of Fame. It's hard to imagine that the New England Patriots would have won our first three Super Bowls without him. He was a cornerstone of that Patriots dynasty and deserves to be recognized for his contributions to football history.
Seymour was drafted by the Patriots in the first round (No. 6 overall) of the 2001 NFL Draft, and he played eight years for the franchise. He was named to the Pro Bowl seven times and earned five All-Pro selections in his Patriots career. Seymour also was a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame's all-decade team for the 2000s.