Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Raiders make a deal with their biggest bully

Raiders coach Hue Jackson has said he wants to "build a bully" in Oakland, and Al Davis just delivered the cornerstone -- defensive tackle Richard Seymour -- for that construction project. Seymour, according to multiple reports, agreed to a new two-year deal worth around $30 million to stay in Oakland.

Seymour is a soft-spoken giant off the field. On the field, he plays as if opposing players just robbed his home and ran over his dog. He's mean, nasty and, truth be told, borderline crazy during games. Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger found that out during a Week 11 game after throwing a touchdown pass when Seymour smacked him in the face, earning an ejection. Seymour, apparently, didn't like something Roethlisberger said or the fact that he made contact with him while celebrating. Two years ago, Seymour earned a 15-yard penalty when he grabbed Denver offensive tackle Ryan Clardy's dreadlocks and yanked as if he were playing tug-of-war.

Seymour is the physical, intimidating face of a Raiders' defense that made significant strides in 2010. And his value to the team goes far beyond the 5.5 sacks and 48 tackles he posted. With a resume that includes three Super Bowl victories at New England, Seymour has huge respect in the locker room, and he's embraced his role as a leader since coming to the Raiders in a 2009 trade with the Patriots. He's been a role model and inspiration for many players, particularly defensive tackle Tommy Kelly, who's coming off a career year that included seven sacks.

Locking up Seymour for two more years was a huge move for Davis. Not only did he keep retain his defense's biggest bully, but he also freed up the franchise tag, which he can now use on one of his other free agents -- tight end Zach Miller is a likely target.

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