With the Patriots camping out in San Diego this week, coach Bill Belichick took a moment to remember one of the city’s sports legends.
And while Junior Seau is identified with his time with the Chargers, the parts of four seasons he spent with the Patriots made a lasting impact on Belichick.
“I loved Junior and his family,” Belichick said, via Phil Perry of CSNNE.com. “Was out here for the funeral, and it was very emotional. Nobody loved the game more than Junior did. Nobody would be more deserving to be in the Hall of Fame than Junior Seau . . . More than stats, his love of the game, his passion for the game, and the high level that he played at, at a very difficult position.
The average NFL career is 3.5 years. Junior Seau played linebacker for 20 years. He spent 13 seasons with the San Diego Chargers, three with the Miami Dolphins as well as four with the New England Patriots.
In a GQ magazine article published on August 14, 2006, Junior Seau announced his retirement from the NFL, but said, "I'm not retiring," he said. "I am graduating." Four days later, he changed his mind and signed with the New England Patriots. Junior would be "graduating" from a 6-10 Miami Dolphins team to a perennial contender.
Junior Seau is more than the 1522 tackles, 324 assisted tackles, 56.5 sacks, 268 games played, 10 time All- Pro, 12-time Pro Bowler, NFL 1990s All-Decade Team, 18 interceptions and zero reported concussions. From former Hall of Fame QB Warren Moon, "One thing I read that was peculiar to me—he had never been diagnosed with a concussion. That tells me he wasn't reporting what was wrong with him. For a guy that played linebacker for twenty years, somewhere in there he would've had a concussion."
Post football life was unkind to the 20 year NFL linebacker. Wikipedia:
On May 2, 2012, Seau's girlfriend found him dead with a gunshot wound to the chest at his home in Oceanside, CA. He left no suicide note, but he did leave a paper in the kitchen of his home with lyrics he scribbled from his favorite country song, "Who I Ain't". The song, co-written by his friend Jamie Paulin—a Nashville-based songwriter—describes a man who regrets the person he has become.
There will be 18 finalists when the committee meets in February for the Class of 2015. 80% approval is needed for selection. A candidate for the 2015 class must have concluded his career not later than the 2009 season.
Junior Seau fits all the criteria for induction. He should be a lock into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, OH. The committee would be well served to listen to Bill Belichick. He knows what he is talking about.
Paul Murphy is a freelance writer from New Hampshire.