Just two years ago, defensive end Richard Seymour was in shock. The team that he had spent the first eight years of his career and won multiple Super Bowl rings with had just traded him away for a first-round pick.
Seymour's first reaction, according to Ron Borges of the Boston Herald, was that he had been "blindsided." He had a right to be angry and confused. This was probably not how he had envisioned ending a successful career in the pros.
He was going from a perennial playoff powerhouse to a perennial bottom-feeder. Initially, Seymour acted in denial, simply refusing to report to the Raiders after hearing that he had been traded.
In recent years, the Oakland Raiders have rightfully garnered a reputation as one of the most unprofessional and dysfunctional franchises in the NFL. The Seymour trade was regarded as a typical bad move by the front office. Should they really have given up a first round pick, a potential future building block, for a 29 year old disgruntled lineman that didn't even want to play for them?
Fast forward to the lockout of 2011. Seymour has been embraced his role with the Raiders, even taking on the role of team leader. A recent story stated that Seymour led workouts near his home in Atlanta to keep Raiders' players fit and mentally ready for when the lockout ends.
Other reports claim that Seymour believes the Raiders are among "the most talented teams in the league" and that he is excited about the prospects for the upcoming season.
Few players of Seymour's caliber could find it within themselves to make such a complete 180 when faced with such an adverse situation. He could have moped and grumbled his way out of the league. Instead, Seymour's legacy may be ultimately be defined just as much by how he helped in turning around the dysfunctional Raiders as how he won Super Bowl rings with the Patriots.