Seymour absent as camp opens, starts holdout
Friday, July 29, 2005
Associated Press

FOXBORO, Mass. -- Three-time Pro Bowl defensive end Richard Seymour was not on the field for the opening practice of New England's training camp on Friday, starting what could be a lengthy holdout.

Seymour's absence would further erode the core of the Patriots' defense. A day earlier, veteran linebacker Ted Johnson unexpectedly announced his retirement. And last week, Tedy Bruschi said he would sit out the entire 2005 season while he recovers from a mild stroke, leaving New England without either of its starting inside linebackers from last year's championship team.

Seymour, who wants to re-negotiate a contract that has two years remaining, also did not report to the team's June mini-camp.

Drafted sixth overall in 2001 by the Patriots out of Georgia, he was named to the Pro Bowl in two of his first three seasons. He missed the last game of the regular season and the AFC playoffs last year with a knee injury, but returned for the Super Bowl, logging two tackles, including a sack of Philadelphia quarterback Donovan McNabb.

Seymour signed his six-year, $14.3 million deal in 2001, his rookie year.

Although holdouts are common in the NFL, the Patriots have largely been spared in recent years. Several high-profile players have signed below-market deals to remain with the team, including Bruschi and quarterback Tom Brady.