The Patriots are glad to have their all-pro back in the fold. After seeing big 93 on the practice field, spirits all around were a little brighter. That, however may not translate to the offense. Quarterback Tom Brady isn't pleased with some of the mistakes being made on the other side of the ball.
When Richard Seymour lumbered out to the practice field for the first time on Aug. 3 and waved to a group of supporters, his five-day, eight-practice holdout was over and the Patriots finally had some good news at training camp. The fans, incidentally, gave him a steady round of applause.
His absence from camp coupled with Tedy Bruschi's announcement that he won't play this year and Ted Johnson's sudden retirement left the Patriots without three top defenders, and Seymour's return provided a needed boost.
"We're happy to have Richard back in camp," coach Bill Belichick said. "In terms of the contract or the negotiation, I'm not getting into any of that."
Seymour also elected not to discuss his contract just as he did during his holdout, but it was reported that he received a $1.2 million boost for 2005, bringing his pay for this season to about $4 million. It was not the long-term extension Seymour likely was seeking, but it was a middle ground for a player with two years left on his deal and no leverage to do much about it. He is scheduled to make about $4.6 million in 2006.
"It was a rough road, but I'm happy to be back," Seymour said. "I definitely had the support of my teammates and a lot of fans so I just want to thank everybody for supporting me. I would never talk about my contract publicly. We felt strongly about that.
"I have some rust on right now. It's good to be back in training camp to knock some of that rust off. I'm in pretty good shape, but I still have to be in football shape."
After working in slowly on his first day back, Seymour took his place with the first unit on the defensive line just as fellow starter Ty Warren left the lineup with an undisclosed injury. Warren was not on the practice field at all during the latter half of last week, which left Jarvis Green, who recently signed a five-year contract extensions worth as much as $18 million, playing with the ones just as he did when Seymour was out.
While Seymour's return provided an emotional boost, it did nothing to help an offense that has remained out of sync through the early part of camp. Quarterback Tom Brady has started to pick it up, but his slow start and errant throws left him visibly frustrated through the first week-plus of camp.
"I think as a team we have been very inconsistent and I think the quarterback position has been very inconsistent," Brady admitted. "That starts with me. I'm missing some open receivers down the field. I would like to think I could hit more of those. I end up with a few sleepless nights in there. I get frustrated pretty easily sometimes. I have such high expectations for not just myself, but the offense."
Brady, who has developed a reputation for his clutch play at critical times, including in the 2:00 drill, has struggled in camp during that hurry-up situation. He has been intercepted twice by Tyrone Poole while trying to get his team in position to score with the clock ticking down.
"If you can't execute a two-minute drill in practice, what makes you think you'll be able to do it in a game," he asked rhetorically. "For us, if we claim to be a really good two-minute team, then we have to perform better. I'm glad we have a bunch of weeks left until the opener."