Richard Seymour ended his five-day sit out and will join the Oakland Raiders on Saturday, saying he was initially "blindsided" by the trade from the New England Patriots.
"Since I got the call that I was being traded, my life's really been a whirlwind," Seymour said at a news conference at the Raiders facilities. "I've really been blindsided by the events that took place. 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."
Seymour was acquired last Sunday for a 2011 first-round pick but did not report to the Raiders, raising speculation he did not want to join Oakland.
In his first public comments since the deal, Seymour told the Boston Herald on Saturday that he was taken aback when coach Bill Belichick told him of the trade, which is sending him from one of the NFL's model franchises to the one with the worst record over the last six years.
"I had a lot to think about with my wife, my family, my friends that are close to me, just a lot to think about as far as how do we make this work," Seymour said. "How do we make it happen? I talked with coach Cable, and I talked with Mr. Davis as soon as this happened, and I assured them I wanted to be an Oakland Raider. They saw something special inside of me, and I just hope that I can bring what they saw. And that's my job to go out and do that, and I know that I will."
Owner Al Davis and Seymour both brushed off reports the Raiders had sent Seymour a five-day letter requiring him to report or face possible suspension.
Coach Tom Cable had remained optimistic through the entire ordeal and believes Seymour can help the Raiders' run defense which ranked last against the run in 2008.
"We've got a lot of good players on that side of the ball, but we needed a piece that would cement the entire group," Cable said. "As this thing went, this was a shock to him. This was something new for him, something unexpected to he and his family. So we chose to really kind of take the path of let this thing work itself out if it's going to. And it did."
Seymour has four children and is the guardian of a 15-year-old cousin, who had recently joined him in the Boston area. Seymour's family will return to South Carolina.
After five days of uncertainty, the Raiders are pleased to add a five-time Pro Bowler to their roster in time to play in the season opener. Cable told his team after practice Saturday that Seymour was joining the team and would play Monday night against the San Diego Chargers.
"It is a morale boost," Pro Bowl cornerback Nnamdi Asomugha said. "I think guys are pretty excited to have him because guys know what he's done in the past. He's got a good reputation so the morale of the team is pretty good right now."
Seymour said he has been in regular contact with Davis and Cable. He said he has talked with the Raiders about a possible contract extension or a promise not to be designated the franchise player following the season, but was given no guarantees.
Seymour turns 30 next month and is in the final year of a contract that pays him about $3.7 million this year. Had he not reported, he could have been suspended for the season and had his contract roll over to 2010.
"He's on a contract for one year, and we'll do what's right, when the time comes," Davis said. "We always have, for our great players and for those who help us. He knows that."
Seymour said he wasn't worried about playing in a game two days after reporting to his new team, saying he worked out in his backyard.
"I wasn't just sitting around," Seymour said. "I always pride myself in being in condition, being a well-conditioned athlete. I've got a couple of oak trees in the back, and I was hitting a couple of oak trees in the back, doing some rip moves."
Seymour has been a stalwart in New England since being drafted sixth overall in 2001. He played on three Super Bowl winners with the Patriots, recording 39 career sacks and being selected to the Pro Bowl for five straight seasons beginning in 2002.
The Raiders were looking to upgrade a run defense that was the worst in the league during the exhibition season and has been the worst over the past six seasons. Since going to the Super Bowl following the 2002 season, Oakland has had the worst run defense in the NFL, allowing 141.7 yards per game on the ground and 122 touchdowns rushing.
Despite his late arrival, Seymour said he plans to be on the field for Oakland's opener Monday night against San Diego.
"I'll be the guy on top of the quarterback," he said.
Defensive end Greg Ellis said he expected Seymour to contribute in the opener even though he won't even have a full practice with his new team.
"That's not far-fetched," Ellis said. "You think about it. He's been a pro now nine years. It's not like he wasn't practicing with the Patriots. It's not like he was just sitting there doing nothing. So he's in football shape, I'm pretty sure, with the program he's coming from. So I don't think that'll be an issue at all."