From first to worst

Published 8:50 pm Saturday, September 12, 2009

At first glance, it’s easy and normal for fans to tell Richard Seymour to get over it and get back to work, even if it is with the Raiders instead of the Super Bowl-favorite Patriots.

Seymour, a five-time Pro Bowl defensive lineman with the Pats, was traded for Oakland’s 2011 first round draft pick.

Knowing Oakland’s “Tradition of Excellence” for the past six seasons; forget about even the Lions and my sad Browns for a minute, Oakland enters today as the first and only team in NFL history to have six straight double-digit-loss seasons. Bill Belichick and the Pats probably got the No. 1 pick in the 2011 draft in this deal.

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All things being perfectly fair, Seymour’s been entirely hosed. For what he contributed to New England’s great teams, he was actually underpaid at $3.6 million a year for this upcoming season.

Seymour fit Belichick’s mold of a team leader. He led by example and execution on the field, and not at all with his mouth or silly celebration dances. But business is business.

It doesn’t matter if Seymour’s leaving the best coach and best organization in the league (Pittsburgh fans have a fair claim, too) and going to the worst organization.

We’ll see about where Oakland’s coach stacks up. Tom Cable took over in midseason last season after Al Davis did what he does best and fired a coach after 20 games on the job.

Cable’s head coaching experience is four seasons and an 11-35 record at the University of Idaho. No, that’s not the same thing as Boise State, that’s Idaho, and Cable was 1-5 against Division I-AA schools during his “career” at Division I-A Idaho.

A few weeks ago, in one of his first moves in his first training camp as head coach of the Raiders, Cable punched and fractured the jaw of one of his assistant coaches during a film session. A few teams fired their offensive coordinators only a week or two before the regular season, but even that’s highly professional and competent compared to one coach punching another. Even that guy from Oregon wasn’t angry enough to break that Boise State’s guy’s jaw.

And the final straw, even while saying Seymour should be professional, he should report to the Raiders, and he should work hard to make the Raiders a better team since he’s still very fortunate to play football and be a millionaire for it, is that Seymour could be a Raider for a long time.

Yes, the Patriots traded him because it was the last year of his contract and figured a draft pick, let alone stealing Oakland’s first-round pick, was more valuable than losing Seymour for nothing at the end of this season.

The Patriots could’ve made Seymour their franchise player at the end of this year though. The franchise tag is a way for a team to stop a player from being a free agent. The player usually gets a significant rise in salary, but it’s only a one-year contract and it’s usually not the same amount of money the player could get as a free agent.

Now, Oakland has the right to “franchise” Seymour. If there was ever a time to feel sorry for a pro athlete, this is about it.