Fall 2022

Richard Seymour thanks parents in Hall of Fame speech for helping him 'keep God first'

Richard Seymour revealed during his Pro Football Hall of Fame induction speech Saturday that he had just one wish as he entered the NFL in 2001. He quickly found out God had other plans for him.

“I knew exactly where I wanted to play — someplace warm,” Seymour jokingly said during his speech. “The Lord answered that prayer and sent me south of the [Massachusetts Turnpike].”

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The New England Patriots took the former Georgia Bulldog sixth overall. He spent his first eight seasons with the team, earning three first team All-Pro selections and making five Pro Bowls in addition to winning three Super Bowls. In a five-year stretch from 2002-2006, Seymour compiled 26.5 sacks, 151 total tackles and 43 tackles for loss.

The beginning of his speech focused on the role his family played in him becoming a Hall of Famer. He thanked his “brilliant and beautiful” wife, Tanya, who was with him for every snap of his football career. Next up were his four kids, whom he called his “greatest joy.”

Seymour then thanked his mom and late dad for believing in him and setting the foundation for the person he is today. That foundation started with making God the center of his life.

“Together, you and dad instilled in me the most important thing in life — as a friend and teammate, as a husband and dad, as a man — is to stand for something, to live by your values, to lead by example, and most importantly, to keep God first,” he said during the speech.

He went on to express his appreciation for members of the Patriots’ organization, even making a joke about finding a way to manage with such a young quarterback (Tom Brady).

In a piece for Beyond the Ultimate during his time with the Patriots, Seymour said, “Nothing compares to knowing Jesus Christ.” He revealed that he became a Christian when he was young but did so for all of the wrong reasons. He saw church as a place he had to go and did not have a personal relationship with Christ. The personal relationship did not really take shape until Seymour became an adult and started a family.

“It wasn’t until I was married with kids that I made the decision to change my relationship with Him,” Seymour wrote. “The challenges of being a husband and father, plus the tragedy of losing my own father, caused me to realize that I need Christ’s help and strength to be the man I need to be. … Today, I still experience ups and downs in life, but in Christ I have peace, joy and true happiness.”

After New England’s quest for a perfect season in 2008 came to an end with the loss to the New York Giants in the Super Bowl, Seymour was traded to the Oakland (now Las Vegas) Raiders. He played in 53 games for the Raiders over four seasons and made two more Pro Bowls.

The Gadsden, South Carolina, native recorded 57.5 sacks, 498 tackles and eight fumble recoveries in his 12-year career. Reflecting on Seymour’s career when he was announced as a member of the Hall of Fame’s Class of 2022, Patriots owner Robert Kraft said there was one memory that stuck out from the rest for him.

“Of all the memorable moments I shared with Richard, my favorite was the week I spent with him in Israel,” Kraft told Patriots.com. “There, I saw how devoted he is, both to his faith and to his family.”

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