No disrespect to Nnamdi Asomugha. In my time blogging for the Raiders this will be the closest I’ve ever came to criticizing one of the only true role models in sports. For all Asomugha did as a player he failed miserably as a leader.
You see there are two types of leaders. There are those that lead by example. Then there are those that lead from the front like a general.
Asomugha was the former. Richard Seymour is the latter.
Don’t get me wrong. Asomugha’s dedication, work ethic and commitment are vital to any team with championship aspirations. Too be sure Seymour’s talent combined with his dedication is vastly important for the young Raiders as well.
Still there is something to be said for a player that rallies the team.
During Asomugha’s tenure in Oakland the team needed a vocal leader. Someone to unite the locker room and inspire the roster. While his play spoke volumes his voice was often unheard. Since his departure there have been rumblings of Asomugha being a bit of a loner that stuck to himself and rarely interacted with his teammates outside of the facility. That’s not hard to believe at all.
From his unfulfilled playoff guarantee to organizing one of the best camps during the lockout, Seymour has been every bit the leader this teams has so badly needed. Seymour sets the tone with his play but follows through with his words as well. In many ways he’s the exact opposite of Asomugha.
Before this turns into an unmotivated bashing of Nnamdi let’s make something clear: Seymour came from a winning culture.
It is easy to talk about leading but unless you’ve seen it first hand in an NFL locker room it’s all just talking head speak. Nnamdi just so happened to land in the East Bay during the worst seven year stretch in franchise history. Seymour, on the other hand, just so happened to be in New England during one of the most successful stints any franchise has ever experienced.
After seeing how the vets led from the front as a Patriot, Seymour was more than happy to do the same as a Raider.
In addition Seymour is the perfect compliment to Rolando McClain.
McClain was drafted to play a position where leadership is as much a part of the job as knowing how to read an opposing offense. McClain is still growing into the leadership role. He’s never been one to be vocal as Jerry McDonald points out. The nice thing is he’s got Seymour to show him how it’s done.
Many openly questioned why Al Davis would allow Asomugha to walk while committing so much cash to Seymour. Sure, he might not be in his prime but he still plays at Pro Bowl level. Plus there is just no substitution for true leadership. For that quality there is no price tag.