It is easy to say that regardless of what team you root for that you knew who Junior Seau was. It’s also not too much of a stretch that most of you considered him one of the best linebackers of his or any generation. This man is a sure-fire NFL Hall of Famer, posthumously now. Terrible, terrible, terrible tragedy. He will be missed and, again, my heart goes out to his family.
I live in Southern California where the impact of Junior Seau’s death is relatively big. Many of my friends and acquaintances in these parts are San Diego Chargers fans and I shared my regards with them. Mostly shock, of course, with sadness and wonder why occupying much of the conversation. “What the hell”, “can you believe it?” and, mostly, “do you think it was that ‘concussion’ stuff former players are suffering from?”
Junior Seau had what seemed to be a full life. He had a successful football life – first at USC, then a nearly 20 year career as a Linebacker for the San Diego Chargers, Miami Dolphins and the New England Patriots. After he retired he was active in charities and the community (Oceanside, Ca.). No one really knows whats going on inside the man, though, and clearly something was going on with Junior Seau. Was it related to this brain trauma stuff that is just now getting the attention it deserves? We’ll know soon enough, the family has given permission to have Junior’s brain studied.
Would it surprise anyone? He did play this violent sport for more than 20 years in the NFL alone. If it did, what’s next? How does Roger Goodell chart the course of this game making it safer while maintaining the integrity of the sport? No one will watch flag football at the NFL level. Baltimore Ravens safety, Bernard Pollard, recently suggested that there might not even be an NFL in the next 20 or 30 years because of these concussion issues. I hope that’s not the case. A compromise perhaps? Maybe limit the years a player can play in the NFL, depending on what the players position is. Maybe, then, the game wouldn’t have to change quite as much. Of course continue to make the game as safe as possible with technology and some rule changes, you just can’t take the ‘football’ part out of the game – because then there is no game, as Bernard Pollard suggested.
Anyway, as important as these thoughts and discussions are, this is not the article for that. Because Junior Seau committed suicide, the concussion/brain trauma part will be a part of Junior’s legacy and discussed ad-nauseum.
The part of Junior Seau’s legacy that also needs to be remembered is just how good a linebacker he was, and not as a Miami Dolphin or a Patriot, but as a San Diego Charger. He was born and raised and played pro football all in the San Diego area. A local Hero and Icon.
Junior Seau played college football for the University of Southern California. Because of his low SAT score, he had to sit out his freshman year. In his own words, he was labeled a ‘dumb jock’ and many in the Samoan community in and around Oceanside, Ca., turned there back on him because of his low SAT score and status at USC. How did Junior respond? He was a unanimous selection as college All-American and was selected 5th over by the San Diego Chargers in the 1990 NFL draft. He played with something to prove and went to 12 pro-bowls and helped his team to a Superbowl in 1994. Juniors style of play earned him the nickname, ‘Tasmanian Devil’, and he was extremely popular in San Diego and through-out the country really. He played at a high level his entire career and was the example of the modern day NFL linebacker.
Junior Seau was an exceptional football player and man. I am just one of many who enjoyed watching Junior’s NFL career and consider myself lucky that I got to see him play.
Thank you Junior, may you rest in peace.