FanDuel - WFBC

September 11, 2009

Raiders Sent Ultimatum to No-Show Richard Seymour: The Oakland Raiders have reportedly sent Richard Seymour a five-day letter, a move that causes him to faces a season-long suspension if he does not report to the team within that period. Seymour, who is eligible for free agency after this season unless he is suspended, has not reported since his trade from the New England Patriots for a first-round draft pick in 2011. "A person close to Seymour said Seymour is awaiting word from the Raiders on when he has to be in town, in uniform and on the practice field," the Boston Herald reported, a claim that's hard to believe.

posted by rcade to football at 09:05 AM - 33 comments

Rodney Harrison was on the Dan Patrick show yesterday and he said that he spoke with Seymour and that Seymour is pissed that he was traded to the Raiders because he's no longer on a championship-caliber team and that he doesn't want to uproot his family since his kids just started school.

Harrison went on to say that he doesn't think that Seymour will report to the Raiders but that if he wants to play football, he has no choice in the matter. Business is business no matter how much of a slap to the face it is and this is a knockout blow.

posted by BornIcon at 09:41 AM on September 11

Sortof feel bad for Seymour, though I'm no fan of his. People's careers disappear in Oakland. And if he just decides to play out this season and become a free agent afterwords, can't they now franchise tag him? Or is there some rule preventing that?

posted by bdaddy at 10:01 AM on September 11

No, I believe your right. His contract is now with Oakland so they can pretty do whatever they want with him after this season so if they want to slap him with the franchise tag, I do believe they can.

posted by BornIcon at 10:19 AM on September 11

I think the Pats might have at least made an attempt to trade him to a quality team in the NFC, except for two things.

One, there was evidently a bit of internal bad blood between Seymour and the Pats' staff and management, so maybe giving him a one year sentence in Oakland could be seen as a form of payback.

Two, I can't imagine any other club being crazy enough to offer the Pats what the Raiders offered them for Seymour. I don't think you can turn down a deal like that unless you are dead sure that Seymour would be a critical difference between being able to realistically compete for a championship or not. The word I've seen from football writers is that the Pats rolled the dice in trading Seymour but should be OK without him.

The Pats are likely not done with significant roster moves yet. They may sign a third QB after Week 1, etc., and it wouldn't be the strangest thing in the world if they nullified the trade and brought Seymour back for the year. It's a contract year for him and he'd be looking to a future somewhere else next year no matter what, so he should be motivated to finish strong in NE.

posted by beaverboard at 11:30 AM on September 11

so maybe giving him a one year sentence in Oakland could be seen as a form of payback.

What? They got a first-round pick in a year that should be a capped year, so that's possibly a super value. Think of this year when everyone tried to trade down because no one wants to commit tens of millions to a rookie. That 2011 pick could be top 5 draft talent and a fantastic price compared to current market prices. If the Patriots really operated on the emotional level people like to imagine ("Oh, that trade was REVENGE!"), you'd also see sentimentality and them holding onto players too long. Seymour looks past prime, he's got one year left and they have other D-linemen to sign. They traded a year of his production for a possible lottery pick.

it wouldn't be the strangest thing in the world if they nullified the trade and brought Seymour back for the year

Yes it would. Even by your first paragraph it would be a strange move (they exile him and then bring him back after he's had a week to get pissed).

posted by yerfatma at 11:59 AM on September 11

Regardless whether or not Seymour is returned to New England (Oakland can fail him on his physical and return him) or shows up in Oakland, he's provided more evidence that Richard Seymour is all about himself and will likely face a lot of hostility for that attitude.

posted by dfleming at 12:08 PM on September 11

he's provided more evidence that Richard Seymour is all about himself

Can you provide some of the previous evidence? I follow the team pretty closely and I've heard very few complaints about Seymour other than when he held out for more money in the midst of being a regular All-Pro.

posted by yerfatma at 12:33 PM on September 11

Ok the real thing that makes me mad about this sort of thing is that these guys sign a contract. But they only want to fulfill that contract when it is beneficial to them. That's not the way it works. If he wanted a no trade clause then he should have negotiated it into his contract.

There is no real penalty for breaking his contract. Yea he can set out a year and not get paid but there is nothing that will happen to him after this year. My opinion if a player breaks a contract then there should be long term penalties. Maybe in this case, the players contract goes on hold until he actually plays. So a 5 year contract, would be 5 played years and would not include any years he sat out except for injury.

My opinion anyway.

posted by scottypup at 12:37 PM on September 11

he's provided more evidence that Richard Seymour is all about himself and will likely face a lot of hostility for that attitude.

Yea...cause if I had a family and my job tried sending me to Siberia, I'd willingly go.

posted by jmd82 at 12:37 PM on September 11

My opinion if a player breaks a contract then there should be long term penalties

But teams can still cut them and cancel the contract when it works out for them, right?

posted by inigo2 at 12:53 PM on September 11

Yea...cause if I had a family and my job tried sending me to Siberia, I'd willingly go.

I agree that you would too, because when you hired on you knew that the way your business works is that there is the possibility of being sent to Siberia. The second reason you would go, would be to get your paycheck of $3.7 million. Speaking of which, when the contract was first signed, part of the $3.7mm has to count as compensation for the risk of being sent to Siberia. Otherwise sign a contract for a lesser amount with a no-trade clause.

posted by Miles1996 at 01:04 PM on September 11

But they only want to fulfill that contract when it is beneficial to them. That's not the way it works.

You are aware that is the way it works for ownership/ management, right?

posted by yerfatma at 01:49 PM on September 11

Can you provide some of the previous evidence? I follow the team pretty closely and I've heard very few complaints about Seymour other than when he held out for more money in the midst of being a regular All-Pro.

Not that it is any kind of evidence of Seymour being a me-first player, but Seymour has been accused of being a dirty player in the past.

posted by holden at 01:50 PM on September 11

I have a hard time blaming Seymour for any of this. Talk about being dealt a bum hand. However, the best answer appears to be reporting to the Raiders. If they suspend him, it only serves to prolong the agony a further year.

I am consistently surprised at how different the NFL is to other pro sports. Non-guaranteed contracts in the richest league on the continent? And these guys already die an average of 20 years earlier than non-football players? Just sad.

posted by WeedyMcSmokey at 01:59 PM on September 11

Yea...cause if I had a family and my job tried sending me to Siberia, I'd willingly go.

Ever been to northern California? Sure the Raiders suck, so there's a metaphor in there somewhere, but Siberia? So, instead, think of it as this.."If I had a family and my job tried sending me to one of the most beautiful places on earth to make a shit ton of money, I just wouldn't be working for one of the top companies in the industry, I'd say..."

posted by tahoemoj at 02:51 PM on September 11

You are correct, 'moj. I wish I could play football and get offered a job to live in northern California and make millions. Even if it was for the stinks like shit on ice Raiders. For only one year and then either get millions more to stay or get traded to some better team.

If I had a job that said I (and my family) was getting relocated to Siberia, I would quit. Do something else for a living.

posted by THX-1138 at 04:01 PM on September 11

I live in Northern California, I know Northern California, and you sir are no Northern Californian. Siberia is a far more desirable place than Oakland.

The raiders are easily the most dysfunctional team in the league, an owner with advanced dementia calling plays, and an unstable coach that feloniously assaults his assistants. I mean, who wouldn't want to go there?

/sarcastically

posted by irunfromclones at 04:13 PM on September 11

Two things:

1. Richard Seymour ain't coming back to the Patriots under any circumstances. According to the jungle telegraph, his agent was trying to work out a new contract, but his demands were much greater than the value New England had placed upon him. The deal with Oakland is not punishment, merely the best deal Patriots could get.

2. Compare Seymour's refusal to report to your being told that due to reorganization, your job will no longer exist. Your boss tells you there is an opening for one with your skills in another branch, but it is on the West Coast. You have one week to decide what you want to do, but if you do not accept the offer, you are out of work. This scenario has been repeated over and over in industry, and a lot of people who earn a lot less than Richard Seymour have had to face it. I have no sympathy for "Poor Richard".

posted by Howard_T at 04:43 PM on September 11

2. Compare Seymour's refusal to report to your being told that due to reorganization, your job will no longer exist. Your boss tells you there is an opening for one with your skills in another branch, but it is on the West Coast. You have one week to decide what you want to do, but if you do not accept the offer, you are out of work. This scenario has been repeated over and over in industry, and a lot of people who earn a lot less than Richard Seymour have had to face it. I have no sympathy for "Poor Richard".

Yea, except by choosing to be out of work, you can no longer work at ANY company for a year. And when you do come back the following year, nobody will know if you still have the same skills to do your job the same. And you only have an average of 4 years total to earn as much money as you can at this job and you can never work in the industry again.

I'm sick of all the "real world" analogies and football. Being a football player and the contracts they work under is not even remotely similar to joe sixpack at the local steel mill. Stop trying to compare the two.

posted by bdaddy at 05:08 PM on September 11

you sir are no Northern Californian. Siberia is a far more desirable place than Oakland.

Shit, do I have to change my address? Agreed that Siberia is more desirable than Oakland, but I have a sneaky suspicion that those who play for the Raiders might live outside of the city proper. Might see some Mill Valley or Sausalito addresses among them, don't you think?

of course, technically, you're right, I'm not a Californian. Just an Ohioan who's lived in Northern California for the last 16 years

posted by tahoemoj at 05:21 PM on September 11

Can you provide some of the previous evidence? I follow the team pretty closely and I've heard very few complaints about Seymour other than when he held out for more money in the midst of being a regular All-Pro.

I want to start by saying that I've been a Patriots fan since I was 5 years old (got a Starter jacket with their logo on it) and I loved Richard Seymour when he was healthy and playing for the Patriots.

Richard Felger (love him or hate him) on WEEI has been of the belief that Seymour tends to nurse his injuries a little longer than most, including missing last season's finale. Ellis Hobbes, in an interview that I can't find at the moment, talked about a highly-paid Patriot who faked injury to preserve his body (which at the time, I attributed to sour grapes on not getting a big deal). There was the alleged head butting of a San Diego assistant coach and Tarik Glenn stomp incident. He's not been perfect even when he's on the field and at certain times, there've been questions about his willingness to play hurt (given the fact he's one of the highest paid players on the team).

That, and his second holdout in four years, leads me to wonder whether or not Richard Seymour is really concerned about his team or his next contract most of the time.

posted by dfleming at 05:29 PM on September 11

Michael Felger is a troll. I've heard the suggestion Hobbs' comments were about Seymour. I doubt Ellis Hobbs' opinion was the deal breaker here. There have certainly been suggestions Seymour doesn't play every play 100%, but that's not unique.

That, and his second holdout in four years, leads me to wonder whether or not Richard Seymour is really concerned about his team or his next contract most of the time.

Can we just have a moratorium on these comments in re: NFL players? There is no other option than to hold out and the owners can cut you whenever you want and the window to earn a lot of money is vanishingly small. Holding out is a perfectly reasonable bargaining strategy here.

posted by yerfatma at 05:59 PM on September 11

I agree that you would too, because when you hired on you knew that the way your business works is that there is the possibility of being sent to Siberia

Actually, no, I would not willingly go. If my job transferred me to an abysmal location, I would fight as hard as I could to avoid that fate.

And as somebody else brought up, at least in another job, I can quit and find another job. Football players have no such ability to make an NFL living elsewhere.

Ever been to northern California? Sure the Raiders suck

Oh please, I was exaggerating the effect of the move, not the location itself- The Raiders such as an organization, and Siberia sucks regardless.

posted by jmd82 at 07:52 PM on September 11

I understood completely what you were doing; that is why I offered an alternative question. Just trying to make the point that going to play for one year on a losing football team with a whacko owner doesn't really live up to the employment equivalent of Siberia.

and don't you mean "child please"?

posted by tahoemoj at 08:12 PM on September 11

Seymour tends to nurse his injuries a little longer than most.

This is the kind of statement that makes my blood boil. Every NFL player is a harder ass, more pain-denying, SOB than any columnist who has ever lived. So there's that.

Then, consider the NFL is a meat factory without guaranteed contracts, with a meatgrinder development league that makes pretty much everyone replaceable at any moment, with players dropping dead or suffering dementia in their 40s and 50s routinely, and with a culture of quasi militarism on the field and rabid chest-beating fans who think the players are overpaid wusses for putting their asses on the line while the ones really getting rich, seriously rich, is not the typical player.

Does Seymour nurse his injuries more than most? Does that equate to normal pain tolerance? Does it equate to a refusal to conspire with a system that demands, yes demands, that players destroy their bodies and shorten their lives in return for paycheques. The NFL is on the verge of moving from being a sport to merely being a spectacle of human degradation.

posted by rumple at 08:42 PM on September 11

Can we just have a moratorium on these comments in re: NFL players? There is no other option than to hold out and the owners can cut you whenever you want and the window to earn a lot of money is vanishingly small. Holding out is a perfectly reasonable bargaining strategy here.

He could, for instance, play out his $14m rookie contract and sign the next year. That's another option. Stop acting like football players are scraping dimes together on minor league contracts; their window for earning enormous amounts of money start the day they're signed to their first pro contract.

Could we have also have a moratorium on calling for moratoriums simply because you have an opinion you think is right? Sheesh.

posted by dfleming at 08:45 PM on September 11

Man, times have changed. I remember when the Bay area was the mecca of NFL 'ball ... Raiders and 49ers were powerhouse franchises, at the same time the Patriots were a joke. Really shows how much good management means to a team - Al Davis needs to step aside, someone needs to boot the clowns in SF out ... Patriots look just fine for now and the future.

I don't like Seymour at all as a player, but I can appreciate his desire to stay/go somewhere he can contribute to success.

posted by cixelsyd at 09:17 PM on September 11

I don't like Seymour at all as a player, but I can appreciate his desire to stay/go somewhere he can contribute to success.

Someone has to play for the losing teams and make them better. Seymour's been afforded the luxury of playing just for a winner his entire career; some players never get that chance. If every player who was on a lousy team acted similarly, there would be no parity in the NFL because everyone on a losing team would hold out until they get sent to a winner.

posted by dfleming at 10:34 PM on September 11

I just checked my map. Oakland does not make up all of northern California.

posted by THX-1138 at 02:45 AM on September 12

Stop acting like football players are scraping dimes together on minor league contracts; their window for earning enormous amounts of money start the day they're signed to their first pro contract.

They deserve every penny they get. Many of them deserve more than what they get, which is why some of that group chooses to holdout. None of them are making more than what they deserve because the power all belongs to management to cut them at will. Management, however, gets the wonderful privilege of never, ever overpaying a player despite a "contract", but routinely underpaying players because of a "contract." Management also has a much longer window to make tons of money and are not at all sacrificing their mental and physical well-being. So, it is annoying when people still, despite the obvious imbalance, continue to side with management and bellyache about the players at every possible opportunity.

posted by bperk at 10:45 AM on September 12

In a league where the owners can break contracts at any time, it's wrong for fans to malign players for using the only leverage they have -- the threat to hold out -- and trying to get every dollar they can before their bodies break down. The power disparity between owners and players is worse in the NFL than in any other major sport in the world.

Fans are extremely naive when it comes to how the NFL works. We praise Tedy Bruschi for spending his entire career with one team and celebrate this as an act of exemplary loyalty, but when Bill Belichick dumps Richard Seymour to a terrible team -- and was possibly motivated by personal animus -- no one faults Belichick for disloyalty. We simply accept it as the way things are done.

There is no loyalty in the NFL. Bruschi is not more loyal than Seymour because he stayed a Patriot forever. It was entirely up to the whims of team management.

posted by rcade at 11:34 AM on September 12

According to this SI article, he's "happy to go there, and I told them that. But me and my family have never been separated. This was a difficult transition."

posted by jmd82 at 01:07 PM on September 12

According to today's Boston Globe web site Seymour will report to Oakland.

posted by Howard_T at 02:56 PM on September 12

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