By this point, most everyone has heard the shocking news of Junior Seau’s untimely death. Nothing can prepare the world for a surprise like this. It is one of those things that you could never even imagine until after it has happened, and then it feels sureal, almost impossible even.
My memories of Junior Seau always appear in the form of devastating hits and a big smile. The guy was one of the best linebackers I had ever seen, and one of the most joyful personalities in the NFL.
A San Diego Charger for most of his career, Seau was traded to the Miami Dolphins in 2003 for a conditional draft pick. This seemed sacrilegious at the time. How could Junior Seau ever be anything but a Charger? The NFL can be a cold business at times, and seeing Seau in the aqua and orange for the first time reminded me of that truth.
Miami welcomed Junior with open arms. A future Hall of Famer that played with such passion and commitment would be a welcome addition to any team, but to have all of that lining up alongside Zack Thomas and Jason Taylor? Man, that was a thing of beauty. Unfortunately, Junior’s time in Miami was overshadowed by injuries, causing him to miss much of 2004 and 2005, eventually leading to his release.
He may not have been able to make the impact he wanted to as a Dolphin, but he gave it everything he could while he was on the field. He always did, whether it was in San Diego, Miami, New England, or even Honolulu, a place Seau visited 12 straight years to make a Pro Bowl appearance.
The events surrounding Seau’s death are still murky, and can only hope that the truth is one day known. One thing that is certain, Junior Seau was an incredible human being and the sporting world lost one of its most beloved figures.
“I’m shocked and saddened. Devastated, really. Junior was one of the most positive, uplifting people I have ever known. He was always full of life and energy and had an infectious spirit that lifted everyone around him. Junior called everyone “buddy” and treated them like he had known them forever. It would be easy for me to say he was a great friend and teammate, and a tremendous competitor, but that would be selling Junior short. Junior Seau was an individual of great honor and integrity, a leader of men and someone with a deep rooted passion for giving of himself to make the people, the community and especially the children around him better. This is an immeasurable loss for so many. My heart and prayers go out to Junior’s family, Gina and their children. I’m going to miss you buddy.”— Former Dolphins Defensive End Jason Taylor