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Holding the line

Seymour tackles contract issue by staying out of camp

FOXBOROUGH -- Day 1 of training camp means football season has begun.

But not for everyone.

What has been long considered a given is now official: Patriots defensive end Richard Seymour is a holdout.

Seymour's agent Eugene Parker said his client, who has two years remaining on a six-year, $14.3 million contract he signed after the Patriots drafted him in the first round in 2001, would love to be in camp.

''I know he would really love to get this resolved," Parker said yesterday afternoon. ''He wants it resolved as soon as possible."

Parker said he and Seymour, who also skipped a minicamp in June, would maintain their stance of not speaking publicly about negotiations. So while he confirmed the sides have had talks, he provided no significant details.

A source familiar with the negotiations said the Patriots' recent focus in the talks has been to devise an acceptable offer that would get Seymour into camp, even if it were only a temporary solution. The act of good faith, the team hopes, would suffice while the sides work out a satisfactory deal.

New England coach Bill Belichick declined to discuss the impasse.

''I'm just concentrating on the people that are here; coaching the guys that are here," Belichick said during a news conference in between the team's two practice sessions.

Seymour's teammates didn't seem to be upset that the three-time Pro Bowler wasn't in camp. The enthusiasm of the 5,062 fans at the morning workout at Gillette Stadium wasn't tempered by the news either.

''We love Richard," safety Rodney Harrison said. ''He's like a brother to us. Just because he's not here doesn't mean that he's not working hard, that he's not busting his tail.

''We have a lot of respect for that guy. We know what he brings to the locker room as well as to the field. He has the respect of the coaches, the fans, as well as his teammates.

''In business everything works itself out eventually. Richard's a tremendous player. In my opinion he's the best defensive tackle in the game."

''Hopefully we'll see Richard soon," Tom Brady said.

Meanwhile, Seymour's backup has a new deal in place.

The Patriots have agreed to extend Jarvis Green's contract, giving him $5.5 million in bonuses the next two years, including a $3.5 million signing bonus, on a five-year deal that could be worth $18 million.

Green was scheduled to make $1.43 million this year, the mid-level tender offer made by the Patriots because of his restricted free agent status. In the offseason, Green was free to sign an offer sheet with another team, but the Patriots had the option of matching it.

Had Green played under the one-year, mid-level tender contract, he would have been an unrestricted free agent at the end of this season. Receiver David Givens is in a similar situation.

Green, who worked out with the No. 1 defense, said taking that risk in hopes of a huge payday wouldn't have been worth it.

''You have to look at the stability, that was very important to me," Green said. ''My wife and kid are here. My son is in school here and doing very well. You have to look at those things, not just the big money."

Parker said the reworking of other contracts isn't a factor in Seymour's request. Besides Green, Brady also had his contract reworked this offseason.

''We're just looking at our situation as a unique and individual situation and are not really concerned with any other one," Parker said. ''We have enough to deal with in trying to get ours resolved."

Harrison is also among those considered to be underpaid, based on his production. His agent has been in negotiations to restructure a contract Harrison signed as a free agent in 2003, but it hasn't been finalized.

''Everyone's situation is different," Harrison said. ''Everyone's motivated by different things. For me, money's not necessarily why I'm motivated.

''I signed for six years and I'm here. I'm happy."

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