San Diego, CA – I still can’t believe what I heard earlier today. Or in my case, what I saw on my phone as a news update while enjoying an afternoon Rockies game at Coors Field. “Junior Seau dead at age 43″…..What? It had to be a mistake. I proceeded to check another website and saw just about the same headline. It was one of those things that just takes a while to sink in. Still really hasn’t in fact. Then hearing that it was probably a suicide situation just made it all even more strange. Junior Seau? The guy who was always full of energy and seemed to love his life? It just doesn’t make any sense. Regardless of any news that eventually comes out about why this tragedy happened, I will always remember him as one of the greatest linebackers I have ever seen.
The three greatest linebackers I have ever seen play are Lawrence Taylor, Ray Lewis, and Junior Seau. As a Broncos fan, we have to face the Chargers twice a year of course, and during the 90′s this meant facing Seau twice a year as well. Seau was selected fifth overall in the 1990 draft from USC, and was a star basically right away. He made the Pro Bowl twelve straight years from 1991-2002. San Diego generally didn’t have great teams while he was there, but Seau was someone the Broncos had to be aware of on every play. John Elway got to know Seau very well over the years, as Seau found ways to harass #7 on plenty of occasions. After a sack, his patented fist pump towards the crowd really annoyed me as a Broncos fan. Truly though, if he played for Denver I would have loved him. He had a motor that never stopped. He was always in attack mode and covered the field sideline to sideline. Jesus, this guy was fast in his prime. He never seemed to take a play off either, whether the Chargers were up 24-0 or down 24-0. His energy and emotion on the field was matched by very few linebackers in the history of the NFL. Seau played in all or some of 20 different seasons, a remarkable number for someone at his position. In those 20 years, he played in at least 14 games, 14 times. 1,849 tackles, 56.5 sacks, and one of San Diego’s all time sports legends. Seau will be eligible for the Hall of Fame in 2015, and should be inducted on the first ballot.
The #55….His “heat seeking missile” style of play….His fist pump sack dances….His love of the game and the passion he had for being an NFL linebacker….These are the things I will remember about one of the greatest linebackers I have ever seen, Junior Seau.
Denver Sports by J Simp