In talking to Raiders CB Nnamdi Asomugha for my Sunday NFL Notes, the topic of Seymour came up. And Asomugha said that his optimism that Oakland can turn things around is, in part, due to Seymour’s help in changing the mindset in the East Bay.
“Even if the guy doesn’t speak that much, where he comes from says enough,” Asomugha said. “He’s one of those types of guys — from the Patriots, All-Pro, Pro Bowler — he knows what it takes. And just the sheer effect he had when he was on the field, it made you want to step your game up, play better, be a better teammate. His impact was great in that way. He made you look at yourself and see where you were lacking.”
Seymour did more, though, than just set an example. In midseason, he brought a tangible example of his success from New England to motivate his new teammates.
“He brought all his rings in,” Asomugha continued. “And we had a team meeting, and Seymour went to the front of the room and spoke to the whole team about what it takes to win Super Bowls, from his experience with his old team. He talked about what we could do with the talent we had in that room, and what it would take, and then he passed his rings around to not just the players, but the coaches too, just so we’d all understand that it’s possible.
“Here’s someone who did it, someone who could show you those rings that’s eating the same food you are, dressing in the same locker room, doing the same workouts as you. And he could say, ‘I’ve achieved this.’ It made it realistic.”
Most of the Asomugha piece that runs today is about this remarkable 29-year-old’s off-field pursuits (you can click through here to his foundation to see more), but we also talked some football.
The Patriots, of course, have reason to follow the Raiders this year because New England holds Oakland’s first-round pick.
The Raiders have won 29 games over the last seven years, and have lost at least 11 games in each of those seasons, so there’s plenty of reason to believe that selection will be a high one. But Asomugha believes with the offseason the team has had, with additions like Jason Campbell and Rolando McClain coming in, the tide is starting to turn.
“I’m happy with the direction we’re going in, I don’t think you can be upset about it,” Asomugha said. “The way we’ve done things in the offseason, from the trades and releases and different things, we haven’t made huge headlines, but I think we’ve made just enough progress to look like a team that could be ready to take the division. And through practices and OTAs and minicamps, we look like a team that’s building. It’s much better than last year.”