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Richard Seymour sees induction into the Patriots Hall of Fame as a long time coming

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Richard Seymour sees induction into the Patriots Hall of Fame as a long time coming

FOXBORO — For all the praise Bill Belichick has heaped on Richard Seymour — and there is a lot — nothing, not even calling him worthy of the Pro Football Hall of Fame, could compare to what he uttered Friday.

Seymour, upon arriving in New England as rookie in the spring of 2001, was unlike any player Belichick had ever coached.

“Obviously, you talk about Hall of Fame players, it’s not a long list of those guys, but I just never really had anybody like that. … It jumped out pretty quickly,” Belichick said Friday. “It didn’t take long to see that this guy was going to really be able to help us.”

The only comparison Belichick could muster was to say Seymour reminded him of parts of a few defensive linemen Belichick coached during his first job with the Baltimore Colts. Basically, he was a Frankenstein of ’70s football.

Now, 20 years after his rookie season, Seymour is a Patriot Hall of Famer. He will officially be enshrined into the team’s Hall on Saturday at 3 p.m., an honor delayed by the COVID-19 pandemic. And, in Seymour’s view, some curious fan voting.

“This is a tremendous honor, it’s a part of my legacy, and I’m truly ecstatic to be a new inducted member of the Patriots Hall of Fame. I will say this — I give the fans a hard time, (because) we know it’s been long overdue,” he told reporters Friday. “But at the end of the day, I’m excited to be here, and we’re going to have a great time this weekend.”

The 6-foot-6, 300-pound lineman was the rock upon which Belichick built his first championship defense. Seymour played out of position at nose tackle during the Pats’ first Super Bowl run, after he became the first player Belichick selected in the first round as the team’s head coach. Quickly, Seymour kicked out to defensive end, where he helped form two of the greatest defensive fronts in franchise history during title runs in 2003 and 2004.

Seymour says getting drafted by the Patriots meant more to him in the moment because of the legendary defensive players Belichick had coached before. Now, he’s among them.

“For him to draft you, sixth pick overall out of the University of Georgia, that was the confidence I needed,” Seymour said. “Because I knew how much I respected and admired (Belichick) from afar.”

By the end of Seymour’s 12-year career, he was named to three All-Pro teams and seven Pro Bowls, including two during the final stretch of his career with the Oakland Raiders. Belichick traded Seymour days before the start of the 2009 regular season when he was in the final year of his contract. Now returned to Foxboro, Seymour stopped short of calling his induction a story about reconciliation.

“No, I wouldn’t say right. I talked to (late Raiders owner) Al Davis, and Al Davis said he traded for me,” he said. “So it’s how you look at it.”

Seymour added he cherishes the championships and lifelong memories he earned in New England, many of them now part of NFL lore. The question is whether his contributions will ever be recognized in Canton.

Seymour has been a finalist for the Pro Football Hall of Fame three years running. His case for induction includes being voted to the NFL’s 2000s All-Decade team, and the Patriots’ 50th Anniversary team. Over his career, Seymour totaled 496 tackles, 57.5 sacks, 88 QB hits and four forced fumbles.

As he has for years, Seymour stated Friday his career is best defined by its body of work, not one or two plays. Nonetheless, Belichick recalled a few plays in great detail Friday morning, including a punt return for a touchdown he helped block in 2001 and a fumble recovery he took 68 yards for a touchdown in 2004. Belichick has long asserted Seymour belongs in the Pro Football Hall of Fame, and reiterated his case Friday.

“We won a lot of games with him. He was a great player. He certainly deserves to be in the Patriots Hall of Fame and the NFL Hall of Fame,” he said. “Hopefully, that’ll be coming shortly for him as well.”

Belichick was not alone in his sentiment this week.

On Thursday, Pats linebacker Kyle Van Noy shared he crossed paths with Seymour last offseason and said he deserved to be in both Hall of Fames. Van Noy also expressed an appreciation for everything the longtime D-lineman had done to help lay the foundation of of the Patriots dynasty. All these years later, he can still feel the ripples of Seymour’s greatness through time, the truest mark of a true Hall of Famer.

“Not many people walked the earth like him, and played dominant football like him. But that’s a different story,” Van Noy said. “He gets that red coat, and that’s an amazing accomplishment. And he should be proud, his family should be proud, he worked really hard to get that, and he deserves it.”

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Suspect arrested after attempted shooting in Encore Casino parking garage

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Suspect arrested after attempted shooting in Encore Casino parking garage

A trip to Encore Casino in Everett ended unluckily for Steven Gonzalez, 33, who was arrested after allegedly firing shots at a group of men after a fight.

A State Police spokesperson said that, on Dec. 1, the State Police Gaming Enforcement Unit and Everett Police officers responded to a report of shots fired in Encore’s garage. When they arrived, the group found ballistic evidence, but no victims, leading them to believe that no one was struck by gunfire.

A later investigation revealed the alleged shooter to be Gonzalez, who police say fired multiple rounds at a group of men following an altercation. After he shot at them, Gonzalez fled on foot and was later picked up by someone in a motor vehicle.

The Malden District Court granted a warrant charging Gonzalez with armed assault with intent to murder, discharging a firearm within 500 feet of a building, carrying a firearm without a license and unlawful possession of ammunition.

Although Gonzalez’s last known address was in Peabody, he was not immediately found in the aftermath of the shooting. A team comprising the Massachusetts State Police Violent Fugitive Apprehension Section Troopers, Gaming Enforcement Unit Troopers, members of a U.S. Marshals Task Force and Everett and Salem Officers used intelligence to locate Gonzalez at a Salem apartment. He was arrested there without incident, and transported to the Salem Police Department for booking.

An Encore spokesperson confirmed the incident but declined to comment further pending the ongoing investigation.

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Revolution playmaker Carles Gil named MLS MVP

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Revolution playmaker Carles Gil named MLS MVP

The MLS electorate is diverse by design but it spoke with one voice in favor of New England Revolution midfielder Carles Gil.

The Revs’ star was presented with the Landon Donovan MLS Most Valuable Player Award on Tuesday afternoon during a ceremony inside the Optum Field Lounge at Gillette Stadium.

The event was hosted by former Revolution striker Taylor Twellman, an ESPN soccer analyst who won the award with New England in 2005, and Revolution owner Robert Kraft, team president Brian Bilello and sporting director and head coach Bruce Arena participated in the presentation.

Gil was accompanied by his wife Maria and the proceedings included video highlights of his big plays from the Revolution’s historic 2021 regular season, which saw the team win its first Supporters Shield with an MLS record 73 points.

The Landon Donovan recipient is selected by an electorate of current MLS players, club technical staff members and the media, and Gil won each faction in a landslide. With 37% of the players’ vote, he was the only one to reach double digits. Gil also got 57.6% of the vote from club officials and 61.6% from the media. Nashville’s Hany Mukhtar, Seattle’s Joao Paulo, Sporting Kansas City’s Daniel Salloi and Valentin Castellanos of New York City FC rounded out the top five.

“The award is voted on by really three groups,” said Bilello. “It is the players, sporting staffs from the different clubs and the media that covers soccer in our country and Carles won all three of those votes running away.

“Whether it is Carles’ peers, whether it is his foes or the media which covers the teams, all of them unanimously chose Carles as their MVP for the season.”

Gil had the numbers to win over the undecideds. The 29-year-old Spaniard led MLS in several significant offensive categories including 18 assists, an MLS record 130 chances created, 25 big chances created, 81 chances created in open play and 49 chances created from set pieces.

The Revolution were 10-2-4 when Gil scored a goal, 22-0-7 when he recorded an assist and 5-0-1 when he had a goal and an assist. Great playmakers need finishers and Gil had his choice of three phenomenal international goal scorers in Adam Buksa (Poland), Gustavo Bou (Argentina) and Tajon Buchanan (Canada).

Buksa led the team with 16 goals in the regular season while Bou was tied for fourth in MLS with 24 combined goals and assists. Buchanan had eight goals and five assists in 27 games. Bou and Buchanan were Gil’s targets in open play while Buksa was his header of choice on set pieces.

Buksa and Bou were the goal scorers in the Revs’ 2-2 shootout loss (5-3) to NYCFC in the MLS Cup Eastern Conference semifinal on Nov. 30 at Gillette Stadium.

“It is a pleasure to play with those types of players and all of them really are incredible to me,” said Gil, who showed emotion during his acceptance speech.

“They make my role easier with the guys we have up top. Adam has a great game in the air and can capitalize on those passes and Gustavo and Tajon are incredible players.”

Arena, who was named MLS Coach of the Year, has a unique perspective on the award as he has coached Gil for parts of three seasons and Donovan over seven campaigns (2008-2014) with the LA Galaxy. While Donovan was a finishing forward and Gil creates scoring chances in the midfield and on set pieces, they were both impact players in their own right according to Arena.

“Landon was goal scorer and Carles is a supplier of goals,” said Arena. “They are both outstanding players and obviously their value to their teams were great and are great. They are different players for sure. But they are two outstanding players for sure.”

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Report: Amid COVID, demand for lab space surges, leading to higher rents

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Report: Amid COVID, demand for lab space surges, leading to higher rents

Demand for Boston-area lab space is surging, but the supply is scant, leading to soaring rents, according to a new report.

Demand is far outpacing available space in the Boston area, with a record number of large biotech and drug companies seeking 100,000 square feet amid a global race for new drug development, according to the report from CBRE, a Dallas-based commercial real estate services and investment firm.

“The Boston lab market is expanding at an unprecedented pace,” said Jonathan Varholak, the firm’s vice chairman. “With over $9.3 billion of venture capital funding having flowed into Boston area life science firms in the first three quarters of this year, demand from startups is at an all-time high. We’re seeing record-setting rents and historically low vacancies as a result.”

The vacancy rate for existing lab and research and development space is just 1.1% in the Boston-Cambridge market, as average asking rents soar, jumping 7.5% to $94.62 per square foot in September compared to March 2021.

In Boston and Cambridge, where vacancy is 0.1% and 0.3% respectively, the average asking rents are now $100.00 per square foot in Boston and $112.79 in Cambridge, according to CBRE. The leasing of lab space has been pushed into the suburbs, including Watertown and Route 128 West.

“As we see in housing, space is scarce,” said Joe Boncore, CEO of the industry group MassBio. “But as we add more space to the economy, we expect the price of lab space to level off.”

Ten million square feet of lab space is under construction in the Boston area, which includes 9.3 million square feet of “spec” construction, where developers broke ground with no tenants signed at the time, the report said. Six million square feet is expected to deliver by the end of next year, and 3.2 million square feet is being converted from other uses such as office or warehouse space.

In Boston, life sciences employment has grown faster than the U.S average over the past 15 years, although Boston has only about a sixth of the life sciences employment as Middlesex County, including Cambridge, Waltham, Lexington, among others. Yet Boston has grown more rapidly over the past year: 7.5% vs. 5.2%, according to CBRE.

“Life sciences labs quickly have become a highly sought-after property type for both tenants and investors,” said Ian Anderson, CBRE’s Americas Head of Office Research. “This intense demand for lab space is the natural result of a global push for new medicines begetting strong funding and hiring in the life sciences sector.”

Global demand for vaccines for COVID-19 and viruses like it has led to initial public offerings for life sciences companies in the on pace for a record year, raising roughly $13 billion, according to CBRE.

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