Junior Seau #55 of the New England Patriots celebrates after making a play against the New York Giants on December 29, 2007 at Giants Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey. According to reports May 2, 2012, Seau, 43, was found dead in his home in Oceanside, California.
"We were shocked to hear of the initial reports regarding Junior Seau earlier today and are deeply saddened by the news of his death. We were fortunate to have had Junior join the Patriots in 2006 and are thankful for his many contributions to the team over the next four years. He had a legendary NFL career and his unrivaled passion for the game quickly made him a fan favorite here in New England. This is a sad day for the entire Patriots organization, our coaches and his many Patriots teammates. Our heartfelt thoughts and prayers go out to his family and his many friends who will mourn this loss."
I'll always remember Seau for the pure emotion and energy he brought to the field. When the Patriots signed Seau out of mini-retirement in 2006, most people did not really expect much from him, as he had struggled to stay healthy for years in Miami following his Hall of Fame fame career in San Diego.
However, Seau managed to revitalize his career in four seasons with the Patriots. Although his 2006 season was cut short by a broken arm, he returned in 2007 and was a key part of the Patriots undefeated regular season, consistently making big plays despite losing a step in his athleticism.
In part-season stints with the team in 2008 and 2009, Seau wasn't as big of a contributor on the field as in years past. Yet he still managed to be an emotional leader for the team and even showed that he could make the occasional big play in the backfield.
When all is said and done, it's truly disheartening to learn of the loss of Seau. He was one of my favorite players of all-time, and I can only wish his family the best as they grieve their loss.