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Sports

September 18, 2008

NFL be warned: Seymour's back

On Pro Football

Hector Longo

FOXBORO — The opening day pocket-collapsing sack of Damon Huard.

The repeated pummeling of Jets aircraft carrier/tackle D'Brickashaw Ferguson.

That trademark impish grin in the post-game locker room.

Oh, yeah, Richard Seymour is back. The five-time Pro-Bowl defensive tackle's return to prominence couldn't be more timely.

Tom Brady's absence has the Patriots relying on ball-control and defense. That, of course, starts with Seymour, Ty Warren and Vince Wilfork on the defensive line.

"It's business as usual, but it's quite a different business (without Brady)," said Seymour after his four-tackle, one-quarterback-pressure performance Sunday at the Meadowlands. "Defensively we want to show the world that we're pretty good on this side of the ball, too,"

In 11 postgame minutes Sunday, Seymour used the words "we" and "team" approximately 647 times. He didn't say "I" or "me" once.

"It's not about one man," insisted Seymour, who'll turn 29 on Oct. 6.

Arm and leg injuries slowed the 6-foot-6, 310-pounder to a crawl in 2007. Hidden in a sea of victories, Seymour's effort was questioned after Super Bowl XLII and the loss to the Giants.

Remember, he was a highly-paid first-round pick in 2001 then broke the bank in 2006 with a multi-year extension. Back in '06, USA Today reported that with bonuses, Seymour was the best-paid player in the game, raking in over $24.7 million that year, $24 million of which was his signing bonus.

In the two seasons since, Seymour had delivered just 5.5 sacks and just 32 other solo tackles. More significant than the numbers was the perception. Teams utilized double-teams elsewhere. They ran right at Seymour like no other time in his career.

Finally healthy, he's been the Seymour of old, anchoring a defense which has given up just 20 points in the first two games.

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