Junior Seau was pronounced dead on Wednesday May 2nd at the tender age of 43. The cause of death was a self inflicted gunshot wound to the chest. In 2010, Seau drove off a 100 foot cliff and survived the plummet with minor injuries. He was charged soon after with domestic abuse on his girlfriend. At the time Seau claimed he had collapsed asleep at the wheel, although in light of the current news, it begs the question if his accident in 2010 was a botched approach at suicide.
Regardless of how he died, Seau will be remembered for how he lived. And Junior Seau lived for pro football. During his lengthy career with the NFL, Seau attained many highlights. Here is a list of Junior Seau's greatest years in the NFL.
After being chose in the first round of the 1990 NFL draft by the San Diego Chargers, Junior Seau started to create his monumental legacy. Though his 1990 and 1991 rookie years were grand, 1992 was when he started making a tremendous stride. It was also the first year he was entrusted to the Pro Bowl. This would be the first of 12 Pro Bowls in a row. Experts knew from his first season that Seau would be someone to watch, but 1992 seemed to be the year that devotees everywhere started to view him as a serious threat.
Still early in his NFL career, Junior Seau had accomplished a personal record in 1994. That year, Junior registered 155 tackles. He also made his first appearance in the NFL Super Bowl. The surprising appearance by the AFC Champion San Diego Chargers at Super Bowl was in large part due to Seau, whose on field motions made him one of the greatest linebackers of all time. Unfortunately, Seau and his beloved Chargers were unable to defeat the San Francisco 49ers.
After being traded from the San Diego Chargers to the Miami Dolphins in 2003, Seau started falling victim to injuries. In 2004 he tore a pectoral muscle that left him sidelined for most of the season. As if that wasn't bad enough, the following year he was sidelined with an Achilles Tendon injury. So in 2006, Junior Seau decided to put down the helmet and retire from football. The retirement speech was emotional and the NFL fans showed their appreciation for Seau. Of course, several days later Seau signed with the New England Patriots and the retirement became a big joke. However, for those few days in 2006, Junior Seau was acknowledged by the NFL world as a hero.
Truly, Junior Seau was a hero to many, myself included. He was one of the few football players I can vividly remember watching with my father and brothers. Often times I think society forgets that sports icons are heroes to young people worldwide. They have a lot of pressure to uphold dignity, honor and respect. Nobody will ever know why Junior Seau committed suicide, but it's not for us to judge. We should remember Seau for the gift he gave us in sport and the hero he was for millions.
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