According to news reports, Junior Seau was found dead in his home today, from a gunshot wound to his chest.
Seau was on my mind this morning as I read over the many articles on new Patriot and fellow Samoan Jonathan Fanene and the credit he gives to his 'prideful, hardworking' people. That description certainly fit the future Hall of Fame lineman. The news of his death was stunning.
Mike Reiss reflects on Junior Seau's time with the Patriots.
Seau played for the Patriots from 2006-2009, and was often called upon to deliver motivational words before players left the locker room to play a game. The passion oozed, with some players crediting Seau for helping them seize the moment and fully appreciate the opportunity they had.
When it came to football, Seau arrived with questions about his durability, but he started 10 of 11 games in 2006, and then appeared in every game of the team’s undefeated 2007 regular season (4 starts).
The Patriots didn’t re-sign Seau in 2008, and when the club visited the Chargers early that season, owner Robert Kraft arranged a special ceremony at Seau’s restaurant to present him his AFC Championship ring. That spoke to the connection that Seau had made with the higher-ups in New England. He was always complimentary of the Kraft family and Bill Belichick.
Then, when the Patriots had a run of injuries late in 2008, Seau went from the surfboard right into the huddle (4 games played, 2 starts). A similar scenario unfolded in 2009, when Seau initially wasn’t with the team. But he was signed in the middle of the season, the hope that his presence would help unify a locker room that had yet to come together.
Passion. Presence. Energy. Motivational speaker. Sense of humor. Those are some of the things that come to mind when reflecting on Seau’s time with the Patriots.