BEREA: Offensive linemen don’t often concede it, but Oakland Raiders defensive tackle Richard Seymour is the type of dominant, nasty player they hate to encounter in the trenches.
Seymour will line up across from left guard Jason Pinkston when the Browns (2-2) visit the Raiders (3-2) today at O.co Coliseum. It will be a matchup between an 11-year veteran and a rookie fifth-round draft pick.
“He’s a physical player,” Pinkston said. “He plays hard every down. He goes through the whistle.”
Sometimes Seymour’s aggression becomes even more obvious after the sound of the whistle. In 2009, Seymour bull-rushed Denver Broncos tackle Ryan Clady, grabbed Clady’s face mask, shoved Clady to the ground and pulled Clady’s dreadlocks as he tried to get off the ground. Last season, Seymour was ejected for striking Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger in the face as the latter celebrated a touchdown pass.
Browns defensive tackle Ahtyba Rubin believes that Seymour’s reputation gives him an edge at times. A vicious mean streak can be intimidating.
“Guys definitely watch it,” Rubin said. “O-linemen don’t like to see that. Guys who are overaggressive are coming every play, so they take that into consideration on Sundays. Guys don’t want to deal with that. That’s a beast over there on the other side they’ve gotta see for the whole game. When I watch him, he’s just relentless.”
The 6-foot-4, 305-pound Pinkston played defensive tackle until he moved to the offensive line during his freshman season at the University of Pittsburgh. When Pinkston played at Baldwin High School in Pittsburgh, he studied Seymour and tried to emulate his style.
“Defensive linemen are taught to be nasty,” said Pinkston, who became the Browns’ starting left guard after Eric Steinbach suffered a season-ending back injury during training camp. “Coming from a former defensive lineman, we were taught to be nasty. We weren’t taught to be nice. You can’t do that. [Seymour’s] doing his job, so that’s just expected. So you just go into the game knowing that you’ve gotta play hard.”
The 6-6, 310-pound Seymour has been named to six Pro Bowls. He was a member of three Super Bowl champion teams with the New England Patriots. And at age 32, Seymour appears to be playing as well as he ever has.
This season he has five sacks — tied for fourth in the NFL — and 18 tackles. He has 53½ sacks and 470 tackles in his career.
“He does a great job of taking care of his body,” Raiders coach Hue Jackson said. “He studies the game. He’s the ultimate pro. He loves the sport. He has a passion and desire for it. So I think when you mix all those things up, you get a player who really likes playing this game of football, and I think Richard will play it as long as he wants.”
Should Seymour become a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame?
“I think he [should] because I think he’s one of the best at what he does,” Jackson said. “I wouldn’t trade Richard Seymour for anybody in the world. Not only is he a great player, but he’s a great person. He’s a great teammate. He is as fine a defensive tackle as there is in pro football.”
The Browns certainly respect Seymour. They just hope Pinkston can keep him away from quarterback Colt McCoy.
“He’s very disruptive, always has been,” Browns coach Pat Shurmur said. “[We] tangled with him when he was in New England and we were in Philadelphia. I remember the first play of the Super Bowl he planted [quarterback] Donovan [McNabb]. I’m very well aware of what he is as a player, and I think he’s playing at a high level.”
Nate Ulrich can be reached at email@example.com. Read the Browns blog at http://browns.ohio.com. Follow the Browns on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/ABJ_Browns and on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/browns.abj.