Defensive end Richard Seymour touched down in Oakland on Saturday a little less than a week after he was traded to the Raiders from the New England Patriots. Thus ended a bizarre situation that lacked clarity until Seymour and others outlined the details.
"I've really been blindsided by the events that took place," Seymour said at an early-evening news conference that also featured Raiders coach Tom Cable and managing general partner Al Davis.
"I didn't expect it. I didn't understand what was going on. So, it's like when something happens, when you're blindsided, you have to step back and realize what situation you're in. And my thought within was, 'Hold on, I can't go anywhere at this point.'"
The Raiders responded by sending Seymour a letter Thursday informing him that he
had five days to report to the team or face a season-long suspension without pay. In addition, Davis dispatched former Raiders Zach Crockett and William Thomas, now team scouts, to "recruit" Seymour, to assure him that things aren't as bad in Oakland as some might portray.
The main issues, Seymour said, were sorting out his emotions and figuring out what to do with his family on short notice. It wasn't easy coming to grips with the trade from the only NFL team he has known during his eight-year NFL career.
Seymour had to decide whether to leave his family in Massachusetts or move everyone to South Carolina or California. Ultimately, he said, he decided to move them to their native South Carolina.
Cable said Seymour is the starting right defensive end on a line that lacked a marquee player until the Raiders traded a 2011 first-round draft choice to the Patriots for the five-time Pro Bowler.
Cable said he expects Seymour to be ready for action Monday against the San Diego Chargers in the regular-season opener, though it's unclear if he will be able to start. If not, the Raiders will use second-year end Trevor Scott.
"We've got a lot of good players on that side of the ball, but we needed a piece, we needed a piece that would cement the entire group," Cable said.
As for Seymour, he said he won't be difficult to spot Monday night, even though he will be wearing No. 92 and not the No. 93 he wore with the Patriots.
"I'll be the guy on top of the quarterback," Seymour told the Boston Herald.
It's that kind of attitude and the dominance that Seymour displayed on a consistent basis with the Patriots that made him a target of Davis' for many years.
And when Patriots coach Bill Belichick asked Davis if he was interested in Seymour, Davis couldn't believe his ears.
"I've always had my eye on Seymour because it's tough to play the right end in a three-man line," Davis said. "We've had one great player do that, Lyle Alzado. (Seymour's) someone that we've been watching for years, and I never thought we'd get a shot at him."
The Raiders paid a steep price to get their man. Given that, the Raiders won't be content having Seymour for just this season, the final one in his contract.
So, at some point, the Raiders will approach Seymour about signing an extension. They also have the option of placing the franchise tag on Seymour in February if they aren't able to hammer out a long-term deal.
"No, we are not talking about a long-term contract," Davis said. "We are not talking about anything right now other than Richard playing professional football for the Raiders. He's on a contract for one year, and we'll do what's right, when the time comes. We always have, for our great players and for those who help us. He knows that."
In Seymour, 6-foot-6 and 310 pounds, the Raiders get a physical specimen who is adept as a pass-rusher and run-stopper.
The Raiders need both on a defense that struggled last season, in particular, and the past six, in general.
Seymour tied his career high with eight sacks last season. Scott posted a team-high five sacks for the Raiders in 2008.
"I feel like I'm midway through (my career)," Seymour said. "I'm 29 years old and last time I checked, 29 isn't old. I'm not going to say what I'm going to do out on the field. I know I'm going to come make this commitment to the Oakland Raiders, the Raider Nation, that they're going to get everything that I have."
Notes: Cable said Bruce Gradkowski is the backup to quarterback JaMarcus Russell, with Charlie Frye the No. 3. "... Rookie kick returner Nick Miller (shin) is doubtful for Monday's game, Cable said. Louis Rankin is likely to return kicks. Johnnie Lee Higgins will return punts. "... Veteran wide receiver Javon Walker's right knee isn't healed well enough yet for him to play in a game, Cable said, and he'll be inactive Monday. Walker begs to differ. "I feel like I'm there," Walker said. "Everyone's got different abilities, and my ability is where it's been my whole career."