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Junior Seau, legendary linebacker, dies at 43

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Junior Seau had just turned 21 when the San Diego Chargers selected him with the fifth overall pick in the 1990 NFL draft, but he was already fully formed as everything a linebacker should be. Seau, who had led USC to back-to-back Rose Bowls and owned a Pac-10 Defensive Player of the Year trophy, tackled with such ferocity that it was a little disarming to hear his gentle voice, see his easy smile and discover what an intelligent and thoughtful man he was.

Seau, who died of an apparent suicide Wednesday morning at the age of 43, would spend nearly his entire adult life as an NFL player. He announced one retirement in 2006, saying he was “graduating” to the next phase in his life, but for Junior Seau there was no phase in life other than football: He still had that fiery passion for the game, and when Bill Belichick picked up the phone and told Seau he could still help the Patriots win, Seau leapt at the opportunity and was in training camp in New England just four days after that retirement announcement.

When a man commits suicide it’s almost impossible not to view his life through the lens of his death, but Seau was a man who deserves to be remembered for what he did best and loved most: Football, played hard and played well. Former teammate Donte Stallworth said on ESPN shortly after police confirmed Seau’s death that everyone who was lucky enough to share a locker room with Seau will think of him as a congenial, energetic person — because that’s what he was, at least when he was playing football.

“You always looked at Junior as a very happy person,” Stallworth said. “He was always making people laugh. All the time. That’s what Junior will always be remembered for.”

Seau wasn’t just a good player, he was a great player. Few if any in NFL history can match both the peak that Seau reached at his best, and the longevity that Seau achieved. He was named to 12 Pro Bowl teams and 10 All-Pro teams, was on the All-Decade team for the 1990s, is in the Chargers’ Hall of Fame and was in the NFL, in total, for 20 seasons.

The 1990 Chargers felt Seau’s impact as a rookie immediately, and by the mid-1990s, and especially when he led the Chargers to Super Bowl XXIX, he was universally recognized as one of the best defensive players in football. He began to slow down in his 30s, and after a 2002 season in which a nagging ankle injury limited his effectiveness, the Chargers decided it was time to move on. But Seau was a long way from ready to retire.

Seau was traded to Miami in 2003, and he looked rejuvenated for the Dolphins that year. More injuries slowed him down in 2004 and 2005, however, and when the Dolphins released him in 2006, even Seau himself thought he was done with football.

Amazingly, Seau was not only not done, but actually an important player for the Patriots. He was much more than just a veteran leader and role player in his late 30s and was, in fact, a significant on-field contributor. He played in every game for the 16-0 Patriots of 2007 and recorded 75 tackles, 3.5 sacks and three interceptions, and he started the team’s victories in both the divisional round of the playoffs and the AFC Championship Game after that season. Seau was still going strong at age 38.

Eventually Seau did age, as everyone does, and he was only a bit player in his final NFL season with the 2009 Patriots. But after he walked off the field for the last time, Seau talked about how excited he was to spend more time in retirement with his family, work on his charitable endeavors and do more television work.

Unfortunately, Seau simply couldn’t find anything to replace the passion he had for competing on the football field. The stories that came out about Seau — an arrest for domestic violence, a car crash that was viewed by some as a suicide attempt — seemed completely out of character and nothing like the man we had watched play football for two decades. Seau, sadly, appears to be one of those players who could never replace football.

In 2015, the first year he’s eligible, Seau will be inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Despite his sad death at too young an age, his bust in Canton should carry that warm smile he always wore when he played the game he loved.

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153 Responses to “Junior Seau, legendary linebacker, dies at 43”
  1. mh28102 says: May 2, 2012 4:30 PM

    This is why the Saints needed to be punished

    RIP Junior

  2. stockspyder says: May 2, 2012 4:30 PM

    Rest in Peace Junior, you will be missed

  3. pooflingingmonkey says: May 2, 2012 4:32 PM

    Well said. Nice article, MDS.

  4. kingofthenorth92 says: May 2, 2012 4:33 PM

    Excellent article MDS….R.I.P Junior

  5. mdpickles says: May 2, 2012 4:34 PM

    Too sad on so many levels. RIP Junior.

  6. dkhhuey says: May 2, 2012 4:34 PM

    I am just truly at a loss on this! He was one of my all time favorite Charger player and was lucky enough to see him play in person many times! R.I.P. Junior! I am just saddened you felt this was your only way to deal with your problems.

  7. realitypolice says: May 2, 2012 4:36 PM

    I heard a report that he shot himself in the chest, ala Dave Duerson, instead of the head. A possible sign that he, too, suspected he was suffering from the effects of head trauma?

  8. mataug says: May 2, 2012 4:36 PM

    My jaw just dropped. RIP Junior.

  9. bigzant82 says: May 2, 2012 4:37 PM

    i will miss him a true legend if u want to learn how linebacker is played u watch seau #55 and others

  10. bosssixty says: May 2, 2012 4:37 PM

    RIP

  11. all4patriots says: May 2, 2012 4:37 PM

    Well said, Mr. Smith.
    /tears

  12. simpleghost says: May 2, 2012 4:37 PM

    RIP. The NFL is certainly working overtime to cover up as much of the details as they can, I’m sure. PEDs + concussions = a troubled 43 year old man.

  13. cowboyscanada says: May 2, 2012 4:37 PM

    Was never a big fan of Seau as a football player, but very sad for this to happen.

  14. clarkisgod says: May 2, 2012 4:38 PM

    Instantly became my favorite player, even though I wasn’t a Charger fan. Was a pleasure to watch play, and will be missed.

  15. patsfiend says: May 2, 2012 4:38 PM

    This is such a bummer. Those close to him must be heartbroken, as he had shown signs, and it’s such a helpless feeling when someone you love takes their own life. I’m sure there’s a lot more to this story that will come out. Sigh.

    As a Pats fan, I’ll never forget the game he broke his arm, snapped gruesomely, making a tackle… as he was walking off the field (for what I thought was his last play ever) he gave the “Victory” USC sign to the crowd in Foxboro and got a standing O. I gave him a standing O from the couch in San Diego.

    RIP #55, one of the all time greats.

  16. tolan04 says: May 2, 2012 4:38 PM

    RIP

  17. riderspantherssk says: May 2, 2012 4:39 PM

    Good article about a great man on a sad, sad day. I only wish Junior could have known how many people admired him for the way he played and the person he was.

  18. terryleather says: May 2, 2012 4:39 PM

    Forget 2015, he needs to be put in the Hall of Fame this year.

  19. daaabears says: May 2, 2012 4:39 PM

    How frigging sad. Yes, put a smile on the HOF bust.
    Rest In Peace, Junior.

  20. originalsteelcurtain says: May 2, 2012 4:40 PM

    As a Steeler fan, who respects the great players in the league…Junior Seau was one of the most respected opponents of all time because he played the game with rare intensity, heart, and passion.

    I’m saddended to learn life after football became unbearable for Junior. RIP Brother!

  21. mp42245 says: May 2, 2012 4:40 PM

    mh28102 says:
    May 2, 2012 4:30 PM
    This is why the Saints needed to be punished

    RIP Junior

    @@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@

    You are a f****ing idiot.

  22. descendency says: May 2, 2012 4:40 PM

    I wanted a ring so badly for him. Obviously, as a Patriots fan it would be nice to get another, but I wanted Seau to get one.

    RIP. I wish his family the best amid this terrible tragedy.

  23. dasmol says: May 2, 2012 4:40 PM

    Thanks for the good times and memories Jr.

    RIP

    Say-Ow!!

  24. speedkills21 says: May 2, 2012 4:40 PM

    RIP warrior from a life long Raider fan…

  25. illwillthemick says: May 2, 2012 4:42 PM

    shot himself in the chest to save his brain for concussion tests??

  26. rooneyruleblues says: May 2, 2012 4:44 PM

    One of the best ever. Will be missed. First Ballot Hall Of Famer.

  27. turrriblejustturrrible says: May 2, 2012 4:45 PM

    I loved watching “say ow” play football !! Great linebacker and a tackling machine. What a sad ending for a great player. RIP Junior!! You were a true credit to the game.

  28. vanmorrissey says: May 2, 2012 4:46 PM

    MDS, as always, great piece. Thanks for the sentiments from all SD.

  29. jdandcoke says: May 2, 2012 4:46 PM

    excellent article on a great football player. truly stunned, and very sad, to hear about junior’s death.

  30. hebertespinosa says: May 2, 2012 4:46 PM

    That’s one piece of great writing. Congrats Michael and RIP Junior Seau. We’ll miss you.

  31. chandler1 says: May 2, 2012 4:46 PM

    Seau was a real man unlike the Saint cheaters.

    R.I.P. God Bless you and your family.

  32. classactcalvin81 says: May 2, 2012 4:48 PM

    Wow what a tragedy for him and family!! I am a lifelong Lions fan but he was one of those guys u just hated ur team to play because u knew he was gonna give 110% every play!! Loved watching him on field and he will truely b missed RIP BIG POPPA!!!!!

  33. crisper57 says: May 2, 2012 4:48 PM

    Rest in Peace. I hope some good comes from this tragedy and we finally start respecting concussions as the threat they truly are.

  34. jekkerbirrus says: May 2, 2012 4:48 PM

    RIP. The Greatest Charger of all.

  35. ocdn says: May 2, 2012 4:48 PM

    Junior, May the road rise up to meet you,
    May the sun shine on your face.
    May the rain fall gently in your fields,
    And may the wind be at your back.

    You’ll be in the starting lineup in Heaven.

  36. deadeye says: May 2, 2012 4:48 PM

    Incredibly tragic. I don’t know what his demons were, but I hope he has more peace now than he had in life. Anyhow, he’s not really dead as long as we can find a way to remember him.

    RIP Junior Seau

  37. fwippel says: May 2, 2012 4:51 PM

    Can’t get past how sad this is. Seau was a super player, seemed like a very good person, and someone who seemed to have much to live for. It’s hard to imagine what would drive him to this point, but I have wonder how many concussions he may have had during his career.

    May he rest in peace, and may God be with his family.

  38. warrenmoon says: May 2, 2012 4:53 PM

    Not sure who is disliking every comment. Suicide is never the answer, but for those people… it is still not the answer. Whatever the problem was, there was a better way to handle it. That being said, it is a sad day for the Seau family, and he will be missed.

  39. whoknowsnothing says: May 2, 2012 4:53 PM

    This really sucks, Seau was a beast on the field.

    The NFL should form an organization to help football players transition away from the game.
    This is a sad outcome and seems to become a trend among football players.

    I am happy to say I’m glad I saw one of the best LB’s in my lifetime!!!!!

  40. Camel Breath says: May 2, 2012 4:53 PM

    Junior was always a class act anytime I saw him around. Never heard a word said about him that didn’t come with an awesome amount of reverence for his character and compassion. He always had a joke or kind word for anyone especially if he saw you were down. Haven’t seen him in last couple of years but I really can’t imagine him being gone at such a young age. I’ll keep him alive in my heart as all that knew him will ! R.I.P. Bro ……

  41. rollteal says: May 2, 2012 4:54 PM

    Nice article !! RIP Mr Seau

  42. phillybirds says: May 2, 2012 4:55 PM

    R.I.P. Junior was a warrior on the field and awesome to watch. Prayers are w/ his family.

  43. phillipalpha says: May 2, 2012 4:57 PM

    Great article MDS! – beautiful – RIP Mr Seau!

  44. davidpoopy says: May 2, 2012 4:58 PM

    RIP Seau

  45. electionconfidential says: May 2, 2012 4:58 PM

    Oh God, this hurts my heart. Rest in peace Junior and a million prayers to your loved ones.

  46. bduncanscott says: May 2, 2012 4:59 PM

    Maybe the Saints are responsible for this to !! lol NAh Seau was a bit of a train wreck here in the San Diego area, saw this coming a million miles away.

  47. ilovefoolsball says: May 2, 2012 4:59 PM

    mh28102 says: May 2, 2012 4:30 PM

    This is why the Saints needed to be punished

    RIP Junior
    ______
    The most ridiculous, inhumane, ignorant, uneducated, knee jerk, unoriginal, mob mentality, inappropriate statement made on this website today, and that’s saying a lot.

    Please do not have any children, and if you already have, may God have mercy on your soul.

  48. pacificamjr says: May 2, 2012 5:00 PM

    gladiator

  49. vtmem says: May 2, 2012 5:00 PM

    May he be granted a place on a football team in heaven where nobody gets hurt. RIP

  50. EJ says: May 2, 2012 5:01 PM

    One of the greatest linebackers to ever grace the football field in the NFL. Junior Seau will be missed by more than just those Patriot, Dolphin and charger fans, he was followed and loved by many.
    I grew up as an avid Buffalo Bills fan, and even though I have owned many Bills Jerseys throughout my life, my very first Jersey was a #55 Junior Seau.

    It was that #55 that I donned while playing backyard football with my friends, my brother and other kids from the neighborhood. When putting the Seau jersey on, It kinda made you feel like you could tackle and play much better. He was a hero in many eyes.

    RIP Junior.

  51. slammincamnewton says: May 2, 2012 5:01 PM

    East coast Charger fan. Never even been to San Diego. But this was my team growing up in the 90s, even when the Panthers came along, i’m still a Charger fan to this day. This was my hero growing up. I lost some of that when he left for Miami, and even more when he was a Patriot. But this still shakes me up.

  52. electionconfidential says: May 2, 2012 5:02 PM

    We’ve got to take these concussions seriously.

  53. jagsfansince95 says: May 2, 2012 5:02 PM

    Great Article! Most likely, the only time I’ll ever say that about a PFT article. RIP Seau!

  54. bigjim50010 says: May 2, 2012 5:02 PM

    WOW!….

    Ryan Leaf is still alive and Jr is not. I swear to god the universe is an unfair place.

  55. gafraidh says: May 2, 2012 5:03 PM

    So sad!!

    And well said, MDS: “When a man commits suicide it’s almost impossible not to view his life through the lens of his death, but Seau was a man who deserves to be remembered for what he did best and loved most…”

  56. jetzman says: May 2, 2012 5:04 PM

    So sad. A truly classy guy. Just seemed lost without football. Money doesn’t = happiness. Can’t believe this was his only y to escape….RIP

  57. pdxbolt says: May 2, 2012 5:04 PM

    Excellent article. Sad day for Charger fans and NFL fans alike. He was a great player….and the San Diego community was better for having a person like Junior in it.

    R.I.P. # 55

  58. lordjoshington says: May 2, 2012 5:06 PM

    RIP Junior. Thoughts and prayers with your family.

  59. raiderspride says: May 2, 2012 5:07 PM

    Every word paints a picture.

    Wonderful brushwork M.D. Smith.

  60. sabatimus says: May 2, 2012 5:07 PM

    Something Marcellus Wiley said about an hour ago has me thinking: to paraphrase, he said that perhaps nobody knew who Seau really was on the inside. On the outside he was a fabulous person. On the inside it appears that he was struggling with some mighty suffering. Wiley said that Seau always wanted to appear at his best. Perhaps Junior had a lot in his head that he, ultimately, didn’t think he could deal with.

    In any case, I’m going to go on with my day and remember him as a fine person instead of sobbing. RIP

  61. blacc24 says: May 2, 2012 5:08 PM

    R.I.P. prayer go out to his family.

  62. jdubkc says: May 2, 2012 5:08 PM

    It breaks my heart to see all these comments about how great he was but none of them address how cowardly and selfish this act was. For those left behind, the devastation has just begun. Those poor children…
    Mother, father, and parent are among the most emotionally charged words in our vocabulary. Parents stand between you and the world. They meet your needs, love you more unconditionally than anyone else ever will, and present you with your first and most lasting view of the world and yourself. They set standards and examples, both good and bad, for your behavior forever. When a parent dies, no matter how young or old you are at the time, you are left feeling that there is no one standing guard for you anymore. You are alone in a very profound way. Jr, what have you done to your children?
    Losing a parent to suicide makes children more likely to die by suicide themselves and increases their risk of developing a range of major psychiatric disorders. Jr, what have you done to your children?

  63. pongonfl says: May 2, 2012 5:09 PM

    Remember it was Junior that tried to get a grip on Ryan Leaf when he melted down….
    To what ever extent this tragedy was related to playing so hard for SO long, I hope that the other HOF linebackers playing right now take notice, and really decided what a few more seasons or another shot at a superbowl might cost them.

  64. RussianBreadMaker says: May 2, 2012 5:09 PM

    What if concussions are not to blame, but steroids. regardless, rip.

  65. nicklincoln says: May 2, 2012 5:10 PM

    OK, I’m English, so please forgive me for any mistakes in the following.

    My family and I went to San Diego – La Costra (sorry, La Costa) – in 1986, at the tail-end of the Coryell years (Hall of Fame will be his, in time – utter genius). It was my first trip to your country and I fell in love with the place – and the Chargers. They had the best uniform then, have had it forever, and always will…

    Anyway, five or so years of pain later (Mark Malone? Babe Laufenberg?) and the Chargers drafted Seau. I came back to SoCal on a holiday in late 1990 and heard of his ejection during a pre-season(!) game against the LA Raiders….

    Why do I remember these details? I just do.

    Because for the best part of a decade Junior Seau was a bloody dominant linebacker – the kind that made the opponent team plan schemes to avoid him. I know no-one wants to hear the East Coast / West Coast thing raise it’s head but….. if he’d played for any other team nudging over the Rockies you’ve got to think Junior would already be in the HOF…

    He wasn’t perfect off the pitch but he was a great, great NFL player.

  66. xtb3 says: May 2, 2012 5:10 PM

    Boston Globe

    Seau is the eighth member of the 1994 San Diego Chargers, the team that lost Super Bowl XXIX to the 49ers, to die at a young age. The other ’94 Charger players that have died: Chris Mims, David Griggs, Rodney Culver, Lewis Bush, Curtis Whitley, Shawn Lee, and Doug Miller

  67. jebdamone says: May 2, 2012 5:11 PM

    really and truly one of the greatest LBs of all time. played with heart, passion and at an incredibly high level for nearly 20 years in the nfl at a tough position.
    also a MAN off the field. everything i knew about him said he was kind, thoughtful and intelligent. i feel great sorrow for his unfortunate end.

  68. detroitlionsnfl says: May 2, 2012 5:12 PM

    Wow, R.I.P. Junior…. :(

  69. blackdonnelly says: May 2, 2012 5:15 PM

    This is a sad day, indeed.

    As a Raiders fan, I’ve always hated Junior if for any other reason for the absolute havoc and carnage he could inflict on an offense, and most definitely one of the absolute best linebackers of our or any other time. Yet I’ve always respected his on-field skills and his off-field contributions to society in general. In San Diego, he is to this day still considered a stand-up guy and rightfully so.

    This is truly a sad and confusing way for one to check out. Myself and other real NFL fans will miss him.

  70. mastashonuff says: May 2, 2012 5:18 PM

    I met Jr at his restaurant in San Diego after a game in which my 49ers beat his Chargers. I was visiting from the Bay Area so had no idea he would actually be there after the game.

    I was wearing my 49ers gear, and he still came over and shook my hand, with his warm genuine smile.

    I always hoped for him to get a ring, it was difficult to imagine someone not rooting for a man as charismatic as he was.

    To his family and friends, my condolences and prayers go out.

  71. jdubkc says: May 2, 2012 5:19 PM

    Headline should read
    “Junior Seau, legendary linebacker,Kills Self at 43″

  72. danielsan101 says: May 2, 2012 5:20 PM

    Outstanding article. Thanks for remembering him so well, MDS.

  73. mrjackson206 says: May 2, 2012 5:21 PM

    In a way I’m sad, & in a way I’m also a bit mad. Sad because I’m pretty sure Junior Seau was a good man & mad because he took his own life.

    I’ll just concede that he wasn’t in his right mind. I’m assuming from playing the game all these years in such a hard & brutal way.

  74. djaehne says: May 2, 2012 5:22 PM

    Probably a woman bitching constantly pushed him to this terrible sad end. He truly was the
    greatest modern day linebacker ever. Rest in peace.

  75. muffinb says: May 2, 2012 5:25 PM

    What is with all of these down votes, that are praising Seau. He was a great player, what is with you people. There should be no down votes on any of these posts that are praising Seau. Damn, what dolts!!

  76. rebel21das says: May 2, 2012 5:26 PM

    R.I.P Junior Seau, grew up watching # 55 crush tons of amazing pro football players. When he came to the Patriots, I couldn’t believe it. I was so excited to see him play on the team I loved. Still wish he could have put a ring on his finger, but regardless he was still one of the best ever to play the linebacker position in the history of football. God bless Seau, his family and friends. So unfortunate that it ended this way for such a passionate person. But I guess life just has its weird ways sometimes.

  77. dankrom says: May 2, 2012 5:27 PM

    Very nicely written.

  78. muffinb says: May 2, 2012 5:30 PM

    It appears that there are two idiots here that keep voting down anything good said about Seau. Hope you sleep well, fools.

  79. jdubkc says: May 2, 2012 5:31 PM

    Coward

  80. johntonioholmes says: May 2, 2012 5:36 PM

    I was never even a Seau fan, but I can’t imagine being enough of a d**khole to go through and dislike comments that are as benign as “RIP Junior.”

    That’s just me. It’s really sad to think of anyone being so tortured.

  81. nflfollower says: May 2, 2012 5:36 PM

    I don’t think we need to bring head trauma into this. Depression is so common in society, among people with no history of head trauma. Also, former NBA and MLB players get depressed and do crazy things as well….. Let’s not get carried away and immediately attribute everything to head trauma. That’s not science at all. RIP junior, enjoyed watching ya play.

  82. gafraidh says: May 2, 2012 5:36 PM

    jdubkc says:
    May 2, 2012 5:08 PM
    It breaks my heart to see all these comments about how great he was but none of them address how cowardly and selfish this act was. For those left behind, the devastation has just begun. Those poor children…

    ================================

    Wow!! Pretty judgmental without a clue of the circumstance. No one should pretend to walk in any one else’s shoes. This is sad all around, so let’s not try to prioritize who feels the most pain.

  83. sepl12 says: May 2, 2012 5:38 PM

    I’m sad and disappointed at this article. This is the clearest case of post career concussion syndrome we have ever had. His death will go down as the career we all point to of why players can’t play for twenty seasons. This article makes it sound like he couldn’t find happiness outside of football, when I’m reality it was football that damaged his brain and caused him to not be able to find happiness. This has made me question if I’m doing the right thing being a football coach, and wonder how long I can continue to support the sport that I love under it’s current condition.

  84. oregonbear says: May 2, 2012 5:41 PM

    Loved to watch him play, hated to have to play against him.

    RIP Brother.

  85. exhibits5 says: May 2, 2012 5:42 PM

    R.I.P. JUNIOR. you were a great football player

  86. bullcharger says: May 2, 2012 5:42 PM

    Only 43. Way too sad. RIP Junior.

  87. rdollie says: May 2, 2012 5:46 PM

    Truly sad. As a Pats fan I had hoped you would finally get the ring you deserved but it wasn’t to be.

    Thanks for the wonderful memories Junior. I don’t look up to people in general and I’m very picky about any athlete’s poster my son may want to acquire but you’ll always be on my shortlist for your work ethic which is a model for all people. Prayers to your family and loved ones.

  88. croghan1919 says: May 2, 2012 5:47 PM

    Just sad.
    Hopefully something important can be found out that will make it seem less so.

  89. joeyq6 says: May 2, 2012 5:51 PM

    RIP SAY-OW!!! you were the reason i started liking the chargers, i will never forget what you did for the san diego community!

  90. patriotsdefense says: May 2, 2012 5:54 PM

    #RIPBuddy

    Junior’s mom brought me to tears on espnews. I wish things were different.

  91. govtminion says: May 2, 2012 5:54 PM

    In six years of reading this site, this might be the best-written article you guys have done. It stays football-oriented, but focuses more on the man and what he meant to the people that knew him more than stat numbers. Thank you for writing this- a pity that they can’t just print it up and read it at his funeral. I can’t think of a better-worded tribute.

  92. nygrwy says: May 2, 2012 5:55 PM

    I swear there is something wrong with anyone who has any thing negative to say in the comments of a very well written article. My thoughts are with his family.

    I just hope this does not turn into some steroid, pain killing suicide story that I am sure a lot of the media will make out of it

  93. magnusantonius says: May 2, 2012 5:56 PM

    I can’t believe it. I had the pleasure to meet this man briefly in 1997 at the Jim Harbaugh celeberty golf invitational at U of M golf course while I was working for Outback Steakhouse. He complemented us on our steaks, shook my hand ans said “I’m Junior” I replied “I know”. He’s was super cool. R.I.P. Junior

  94. bsizemore68 says: May 2, 2012 5:57 PM

    As a Miami fan it was great to see him there for a few years, when they talk about great linebackers his name will be mention often, no way he don’t get the first round vote for the hall of fame. Rest in peace Junior. Bill

  95. maverick5266 says: May 2, 2012 5:57 PM

    This one hurts. Really bad. It makes no sense.

  96. Deb says: May 2, 2012 5:58 PM

    Just heard this news and still trying to process it. No matter what team you support, you couldn’t help but like and respect Seau. Beautiful article, MDS. Prayers go out for his family, friends, and teammates. May he rest in peace.

  97. theandy59 says: May 2, 2012 6:04 PM

    Nobody knows the demons in another man’s head. Don’t judge Junior, especially now. Merely being thankful that you’re not him should be enough.

    Once a Patriot, always a Patriot.

  98. jman667 says: May 2, 2012 6:05 PM

    Beautiful tribute to a one of the great Charger players in history. RIP Say-ow.

  99. northstars1991 says: May 2, 2012 6:10 PM

    Wow… I am in shock… so young… The man must have really been struggling… Everyday life can be such a battle…

  100. cometophillyforthecrack says: May 2, 2012 6:10 PM

    i couldnt believe it when a coworker told me just now, this guy was the Morten Anderson of linebackers playing 20 seasons. Class act, its sad more kids look up to a murderer like ray lewis instead of this guy. My guess is he shot himself in the chest to allow a study of his brain and the punishment it took from the hits and concussions.suicide is a permanent solution to a temporary problem. RIP Junior, im sure you’re getting a drink with Derrick Thomas right about now.

  101. fnc111 says: May 2, 2012 6:10 PM

    Hopefully the gf gave him a good BJ as he was struggling after the shot to the chest

  102. bryans49ers says: May 2, 2012 6:18 PM

    Unbelievable. . I cant believe that nobody was there for Jr., and he felt so alone and didn’t reach out for help at that moment. Thats a tragedy in itself. This is a very bad situation.

  103. raiderbeliever says: May 2, 2012 6:18 PM

    As a Raiders fan I loathed this guy on the field when against my team because he was such a great play maker. He’s one of the very best football players of all times, and he earned my respect totally.

    This is heartbraking news to hear. I feel bad he took his life, he couldn’t have been himself at that point and it’s hard to see a guy like that leave this world in this way, and so ‘untimely.’

    Peace and prayers to his family.

  104. Revolution22 says: May 2, 2012 6:20 PM

    This is an extremely sd day. I wish they wouldn’t have interviewed his mother unless she speciffically wanted to make a statement. That was heartbreaking, and painful to watch.

    R.I.P Seau.

  105. mwm367 says: May 2, 2012 6:25 PM

    A very very BIG thumbs down to all the F’ed up jerks that are putting thumbs down to this article. I don’t care what team you pull for, this is never good news. A sad day for him and his family. :-(

  106. sfm073 says: May 2, 2012 6:35 PM

    You honestly think he kill himself bc he wasn’t playing football anymore? Obviously not playing effected him, but I promise you are there is more to the story than just that. Pretty ignorant to say he killed himself bc of that.

  107. iseek11 says: May 2, 2012 6:37 PM

    I am a lifelong hardcore Bronco fan. My girlfriend is a Raider fan ( dont judge. I cant believe such a great woman could do that, but Im working on it). She cried when I told her the news. I gotta say, I teared up a bit too. We both watched our teams compete against Seau and neither of us can think of a rival we respected more. Class act on and off the field.

    We all have our demons. It is so sad to see them win sometimes.

  108. CKL says: May 2, 2012 6:39 PM

    patriotsdefense says:
    May 2, 2012 5:54 PM
    #RIPBuddy

    Junior’s mom brought me to tears on espnews. I wish things were different.
    _________________________________
    Agreed…that was beyond heartbreaking. Listening to Troy B, Tedy B and Marcellus Wiley talking about him was touching as well. Wiley was almost in tears himself. It’s obvious this man touched his teammates in a major way with his passion for the game and his love of life.

    I just wanted to chime in to compliment MDS for the article too. Very well done, sir!

  109. raideralex7 says: May 2, 2012 6:40 PM

    When that many members of a football team die of heart problems, and/or have anger issues,

    does no one else but me suspect steroid use that spread through the locker room?

  110. larrybrown43 says: May 2, 2012 6:44 PM

    No one has a clue as to why he did this. Depression is a heck of a thing. To connect any dots is baseless. Anything to a broken heart, a loss of purpose, bad business deal, financial troubles are more plausible than linking this to brain injury and Dave Duerson. Especially two hours after the fact.

  111. radrntn says: May 2, 2012 6:47 PM

    sad to think that a man who lived so much , hit a bottom that brought him to that decision. Thoughts and prayers go out to his family.

  112. snargi01 says: May 2, 2012 6:50 PM

    Seau was one of my favorite players. He will be missed. RIP Junior. :(

  113. thetruth1313 says: May 2, 2012 6:52 PM

    Really sad to hear the news. Even before he joined the Pats, I was a huge fan of his. Played the game the right way and seemed like a great person away from the field. RIP to one of the best ever.

  114. madaro2001 says: May 2, 2012 6:58 PM

    He was dead to me when he joined the Patriots.

  115. tdk24 says: May 2, 2012 7:05 PM

    It is a sad day indeed. Great player. But this has got me thinking. They are saying he shot himself in the chest. The same as Dave Duerson of the Bears. Leaving their brain intact to possibly be studied. Which makes me wonder if this is going to be a common theme in the future. Think about it, a retired player, maybe not able to support his family anymore like they were accustomed. Maybe feeling messed up health wise. The doctor’s come to the conclusion that football did this to him, and the courts make the NFL pay the family a huge settlement, maybe enough to take care of the players family for the rest of their lives. I hope that is not the case. These families need to let their retired athletes know they mean more to them alive.

  116. jjared1101 says: May 2, 2012 7:09 PM

    I know Seau was a great linebacker and did many things in his community, but i’m finding it hard to have sympathy for the man after watching the video of his mom.

    He didn’t escape his pain. He just placed it all on his poor mother.

  117. philly2boston says: May 2, 2012 7:11 PM

    This was a great piece. Condolences to those who were close. It begs the question, how much impact to the post concussion suit does this have? He had an infectious way, a charitable heart, high intelligence, and no money problems. My guess the NFL takes the brunt of this horrible blow. Two similar stories come to mind.. Wrestling’s Chris Benoit and Dave Duerson.

  118. rushmatic says: May 2, 2012 7:21 PM

    Very nice article, MDS. Feels like you were probably a fan of his at some point.

  119. jslabotsky says: May 2, 2012 7:37 PM

    The person calling him a coward for doing this clearly has never attempted to counsel a loved one on the brink of suicide. I have. I can say with 100% conviction that anyone who is in such a bad state that they would actually carry out a suicide attempt is in no way capable of thinking about it rationally. Often they believe the world is better off without them – even their children.

    There are no words to describe it — you have to see it for yourself. Prior to witnessing it for myself, I would have made the same sort of self-righteous “coward” accusation. But having lived through it, I would never say such a thing again. Shame on those of you who feel entitled to pass judgment!

  120. gbsoccer6 says: May 2, 2012 7:39 PM

    unfortunately , I think this will shed more light on the deadly hits nfl players take and the tole they take on the human brain. I really hope more nfl players will take this issue seriously and respect the rules of the game.

  121. jameslongstaffe says: May 2, 2012 7:53 PM

    Always 1 call or message away from really bad news… a few years ago I read an article about the death of Chris Mims, & the mother of 1 of his sons said something that really struck me, “I think maybe he had a broken spirit and a broken heart”. I will always be a Chargers fan, & he is a Charger for life!

  122. rosesacl says: May 2, 2012 7:53 PM

    Did this really happen?

  123. sea3369 says: May 2, 2012 7:59 PM

    R.I.P Jr. You will be missed

  124. sailbum7 says: May 2, 2012 8:05 PM

    Seau was truly one of the good ones, both on and off the field. In addition to being a great football player, he gave back immensely to the San Diego community. His charitable work off the field has had a positive impact on many kids lives.

    RIP Junior, you will be greatly missed.

  125. djvicdogg says: May 2, 2012 8:07 PM

    RIP Double Nickles. You were my hero when I was a kid. Looking at pictures from my teenage years, I’m wearing my #55 jersey in a lot of them. One of the best linebackers to ever play the game.

  126. philtration says: May 2, 2012 8:12 PM

    He obviously had some demons no matter what caused them.

    Just a sad situation for his family.

  127. backstageatapuppetshow says: May 2, 2012 8:14 PM

    People talk about the short term physical effects of Steroid use, but no one talks about he long term psychological effects. Maybe it’s time.

    RIP #55

  128. pftstory says: May 2, 2012 8:20 PM

    Get ready for the thumbs down button. I know most wont think this out.
    The guy was a great player and from most reports a great guy. But reality check. You are not going to miss him now any more then when he retired. You only know him on the field. You don’t interact with him to miss him. 2 weeks from now he will not be on your mind. Many of us will say some time in the future “oh yeah, he died a couple years back.”
    It is sad what he did to his friends and family. It will be interesting to see what the best guesses are as to what brought him to that point. We don’t know enough about concussions to conclusively blame that.
    But really, the harm of suicide to those left behind is more important than anything he did on the field. So he should be remembered for this selfish act. It should be seen as a disappointing end to what appeared to have been an otherwise great life. It should be used not to give sympathy and let others considering it know they will be remembered fondly, and people will feel bad for them if they do this. It should be used to study why people come to this in the hopes of finding answers. Any clues he can provide as to why people choose this route would far exceed any athletic accomplishments.
    But paying tribute to the poor tortured soul who took his own life is not beneficial to society.
    Yes it is sad that he did this. I feel bad for him that he felt he couldn’t make it. But I feel worse for those thaat truly knew him and loved him.
    Those are the ones who I wish peace.

  129. christopher525 says: May 2, 2012 8:33 PM

    To anyone who doesn’t understand the first comment, it’s 100% true. The Saints are obviously not the only team to run bounties, but they were caught. You need to punish them as an example to the others doing it. Concussions can easily take someone out of a game. This story is a damn shame though, one of my all time favorites, he’ll be missed.

  130. tocathu says: May 2, 2012 8:34 PM

    Classic case of CTE. Hope the family agrees to autopsy/Boston brain study looking for same.
    NFL needs to take this seriously.

  131. countertrry44 says: May 2, 2012 8:36 PM

    Blaming this on concussions and hits to the head is ridiculous, premature and irrational. Consider that there are thousands and thousands of former NFL, CFL, AFL etc, football players that DO NOT go down this path. there is Ace Parker who played for eight years (sans helmet) and is still alive at 99 and Charley Trippi (Leather helmet) still living at 99 among countless others that have suffered the hits and pains that NFL players endure and still live a long fruitful life. While this is a tragedy there is no need to be irrational and make it into something its not. The suicide rate among lawyers, physicians, and even veterinarians is much greater than that of an NFL player and they suffer no more brain injuries than that of the average american. Unfortunately this terrible event will be used by some as “evidence” to further their agenda.

  132. The Prophet says: May 2, 2012 8:36 PM

    The best Samoan player in NFL history and one of the best middle linebackers of all time. Soifua and RIP Seau.

  133. leatherhelmets says: May 2, 2012 8:39 PM

    If anyone allows their kid to play football they are just stupid now. The information is becoming more and more apparent. The brain trauma that a kid gets is devastating. Their brains are not as developed, and it is more damaging when you have repetitive trauma. Does not need to be at the concussion level. People don’t realize this yet, but they will soon.

    RIP Junior Seau.

  134. justwinbaby29 says: May 2, 2012 8:46 PM

    As a Raiders fan he was a tough player you always had to respect. One of the best defensive players in NFL history.

    RIP.

  135. patriotsdefense says: May 2, 2012 8:58 PM

  136. jiggy3198 says: May 2, 2012 9:00 PM

    R.I.P to one of the best. I’m sorry life was so troubling.

  137. aljack88 says: May 2, 2012 9:02 PM

    Michael David Smith – excellent article.

  138. tedmurph says: May 2, 2012 9:24 PM

    tedmurph says:May 2, 2012 8:59 PM

    I always thought that Seau was overrated, with no subtance, just a dancing fool after a sack, like Merriman. Then he went to the Pats, out of retirement, off his surfboard, to get a ring. Played tremendously. Great teamate. Great speech in Foxboro before the got on the plane for the SB 2007. Laid on the field for 30 secs when the Giants completed the pass to Burress to win the SB. Sad story. Something was up with this guy. The cliff accident was the first indication. Too bad he couldn’t get the support he needed, whether it was due to injuries or other issues. 43 yrs old. Wow.

  139. wludford says: May 2, 2012 9:26 PM

    Too bad nobody close to him was able to get him to get help for whatever mental issue it was that made him suicidal.

  140. christopher525 says: May 2, 2012 9:27 PM

    @countertrry, there’s a huge difference between the helmetless and leather helmet players versus the current league. Those guys didn’t have the hard shell on their head which made it a weapon. If you played football on ANY level until the last 5 or so years, one thing you were taught was “hat and hands.” You were taught, with the helmet on, nothing can hurt you, so use it. Also, a concussion wasn’t known to be as severe or lasting as they are now. Typically, you’ld get a concussion and if YOU felt alright, you went right back to practice and playing the next week. I can only think back to one concussion myself and it still scares the hell out of me, I can’t begin to imagine what it’s like living through countless brain trauma like that. You want a comparison? Get tackled in the front yard by a friend without a helmet, then add a helmet and slam your head into a brick wall 10-25 times as hard as humanly possible, then say it doesn’t have an effect.

  141. bensstinkyfingers says: May 2, 2012 9:42 PM

    Seau was a hell of a LB, and one of the good guys. It’s a shame that a man can get to that point where he feels he has nothing to live for, especially when 90%of the population would love to be in his position even days ago. Suicides are a tragedy anyway you look at them, just wish more attention would be brought to the kids who suffer from many issues and feel like they have no options. Maybe someone will start a charity in his name to bring more attention to this, so that something good comes out of this terrible tragedy. R.I.P.

  142. lostsok says: May 2, 2012 10:02 PM

    There are just no words. This is a man who deserved a happy retirement. That he was swallowed up by emptiness is just…awful.

    Beyond sad.

    Just utterly tragic.

    Where was the NFLPA? Where were his former teammates? How could such a great person just be allowed to emotionally disintegrate?

    There are just no words…

  143. Deb says: May 2, 2012 10:21 PM

    Moderators, I know you can’t catch everything, but please do something about this post. Some things are beyond sick.

    fnc111 says:
    May 2, 2012 6:10 PM
    Hopefully the gf gave him a good BJ as he was struggling after the shot to the chest

  144. highlander24 says: May 2, 2012 10:24 PM

    Today we lost a great man. Thanks for everything Junior. See you in heaven one day.

  145. christopher525 says: May 2, 2012 10:50 PM

    Also, @countertrry, your assumption that the suicide rate of lawyers, physicians, and veterenarians tops the NFL is pretty absurd when suicide among former NFL players is 6 times the national average. Do you realize how much larger a pool those other careers have? The suicides would be astronomical.

  146. kylecleric says: May 2, 2012 11:06 PM

    this feels so awful. feels like a strong punch to the chest. he’s loved.

  147. BeachBum46 says: May 2, 2012 11:21 PM

    How can anyone give a thumbs down to this mans death, you should all be ashamed.

    RIP, my thoughts and prayers are with your family Junior…. You were one hell of a player.

  148. jjmanchvegas says: May 2, 2012 11:46 PM

    I will go to sleep tonight knowing that Jimi Hendrix is rippin licks on his ax, while Cliff Burton lays down a bombing baseline, dime bag Darryl plays rhythm to John bohnams sick beats……….and Mr Seau celebrates his devastating bone crushing sack he just laid upon Steve McNair in a pickup game played on heavens front lawn. Rest well my dudes. Can’t even begin to imagine the pain 55 must have been feeling this morning, to make him feel this was the way to go. Everyone is entitled to their opinion, but keep in mind while doing so…. In his time here he set the bar for us. His passion for playing the game he loved, at a level most us can only dream of. I remember before there Giants/Pats Superbowl, he was quoted…”Do your job!” words to live by. Peace to all, and to all a good night. Take care of each other. Hug your kids, lovers, family and friends.

  149. gimmeabruschi says: May 3, 2012 1:35 AM

    Maybe I’m missing something, but you just don’t commit suicide by shooting yourself in the chest. You also don’t generally commit suicide when you’re rich and famous either.

    Something’s fishy here.

    From all indications he was a loveable guy. I’m glad he was able to play for the Pats a few years. Too bad he just missed that ring in ’07. What a great player he was. And his life was just getting revved up. Sad.

  150. jjbadd says: May 3, 2012 2:56 AM

    How terribly sad this news is..as a long time Broncos fan, I remember Seau vividly..always making a good play! Mile High Salute to ya Mr Seau, God Bless….

  151. guypatsfan says: May 3, 2012 8:24 AM

    As a Pats fan it was a rare treat indeed to watch Junior Seau and Tedy Bruschi play together on defense. Junior fit it so beautifully with the Patriots, and Pats fans loved him so much in return. Like Tom Brady and Peyton Manning, Junior Seau should be a unanimous first-ballot Hall of Famer.

    RIP Buddy, and thanks for the memories.

  152. draconian1111 says: May 3, 2012 8:49 AM

    “gimmeabruschi says:
    May 3, 2012 1:35 AM
    Maybe I’m missing something, but you just don’t commit suicide by shooting yourself in the chest. You also don’t generally commit suicide when you’re rich and famous either.

    Something’s fishy here.”

    – If he killed himself – shooting in the chest could have several reasons. Brain study for one. Another is that he has kids – open casket – who knows – maybe he was thinking it is less traumatic? Can’t depend on someone that is thinking about killing themselves to be rational.

    Rich and famous people kill themselves all the time – they tend to use drugs to do it. A lot of times, we are told that it was an unintentional overdose – but if we look at the amount that some took – there is little doubt about the intent.

    For myself – it does seem strange that he was playing golf and in a, by all accounts, great mood 2 days before. It’s hard to fathom playing golf – and then – suicide a couple days later. I know, unfortunately, quite a bit about depression and manic-depressive disorder (I have the t-shirt?) and I can’t see happy – then 2 days – suicide.

    Regardless of it all – he was one hell of a player – even if you didn’t like the team he was playing for – if you knew football, you knew Seau.

  153. Deb says: May 3, 2012 12:20 PM

    Moderators, you’d leave up the cruel and crude line about Seau’s devastated family giving him a blow job as he’s dying, but you won’t let me recommend a book that might help someone reading this article? Your priorities need some work.

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