Next Stop: Canton?

It is pro football’s highest individual honor — a gold jacket, a bronze bust and enshrinement into the Pro Football Hall of Fame. The Patriots are represented yet again on the Pro Football Hall of Fame induction finalist ballot for 2020. Former Patriots defensive end Richard Seymour has been selected as a modern era finalist for the second consecutive year after Ty Law was inducted last summer. As part of NFL 100 celebrations, the Pro Football Hall of Fame will also honor 20 members as part of the special Centennial Class. This group is comprised of senior players, contributors and coaches. Among them is former Patriots Vice President and General Manager, Francis “Bucko” Kilroy.

Richard Seymour

It will be Richard Seymour’s second trip to the Super Bowl as a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame finalist ballot. Seymour was a dominant defensive lineman for eight years with the New England Patriots, appearing in 4 Super Bowl Championship games and winning 3 titles during that time. Head coach Bill Belichick has called Seymour and former teammate Vince Wilfork the two best defensive linemen he has ever coached.

Seymour will be patiently waiting for a knock on the door in a Miami hotel room at Super Bowl LIV. Seymour led a ferocious Belichick defense in New England for 8 years, playing in 111 games at defensive end and tackle. During his time in Foxborough, Seymour was a force both in the run game and creating pressure on opposing quarterbacks. He did so with a graceful power that required opposing coaches to game plan for him.

Seymour’s 39 career sacks as a Patriot ranks 7th all-time in franchise history and he added 18.5 more while donning the Oakland Raiders silver and black. He added 4.5 postseason sacks with the Patriots, but his dominance was hardly measured in statistics. He was a two-gap lineman for the Patriots and controlled the line of scrimmage.

Football requires more than raw talent and pure strength; it tests players intelligence and mental toughness. Richard Seymour had a high football intellect, making him an easy fit into a Belichick defense. Being utilized in several different roles, Seymour was one of the defensive line anchors that led the Patriots through the start of their historic dynasty.

Seymour dominated the line of scrimmage, making opposing teams design plays to avoid No. 93 in an attempt to gain any positive yardage. His 64 tackles for a loss ranks second in franchise history behind only Patriots Hall of Famer Willie McGinest (79). Additionally, Seymour ranks first in franchise history for passes defended by a defensive lineman and third by non-defensive backs (29). Only Tedy Bruschi (57) and Mike Vrabel (34) had more passes defended by non-defensive backs.

The accomplishments and accolades go beyond his performance with the Patriots. Seymour’s individual honors transcend New England. He earned three consecutive first team All-Pro selections from 2003-05 and was second team in 2006. Seymour is tied for the sixth most All-Pro selections in Patriots franchise history. Each of those seasons also resulted in a Pro Bowl selection, and with two more trips in 2010-11, he totaled seven total Pro Bowl selections in his career. Seymour was also selected to the NFL All-Decade Team for the 2000s.

Francis “Bucko” Kilroy

Kilroy began his playing career in 1943 with the wartime combined team of the Eagles and Steelers. He was a six-time All-Pro guard for the Philadelphia Eagles during a 13-season playing career during the 1940s and 1950s.

After his playing career, he worked in player personnel and scouting for the Philadelphia Eagles, Washington Redskins and Dallas Cowboys. Kilroy joined the Patriots scouting department in 1971 as personnel director.

Kilroy was revered in NFL scouting circles, having started many of the scouting services that became fixtures in the NFL. He was also one of the founders of the National Football Scouting Combine, one of the most important personnel events on the NFL’s current offseason calendar. While he was with the Cowboys personnel department, the team won five straight division championships. As personnel director of the Patriots, Kilroy was responsible for selecting two of the team’s Pro Football Hall of Fame inductees, John Hannah (1973) and Mike Haynes (1976). He is credited with building some of the best teams in Patriots history, drafting Jim Plunkett, Julius Adams, Hannah, Sam Cunningham, Darryl Stingley, Steve Nelson, Russ Francis and Steve Grogan during his first five years as personnel director (1971-75). Over the next three years (1976-78), the Patriots compiled a 31-13 record (.705), including two playoff appearances.

Kilroy was a member of the New England Patriots organization for 36 years, serving as personnel director (1971-78), general manager (1979-82), vice president (1983-93) and scouting consultant (1994-2007). He was a contributor to 15 of the club’s playoff seasons, including the franchise’s first six Super Bowl trips.

Kilroy was scouting royalty in the NFL over his 64-year career. He used his experience as a player, coach, scout, executive and consultant to tutor numerous personnel analysts who went on to head NFL scouting departments.