- Bill Williamson, ESPN Oakland Raiders reporter
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Here are more tributes and statements of about t he death of Chargers superstar linebacker Junior Seau. He was 43:
The Oakland Raiders:
“We are deeply saddened by the news of the passing of Junior Seau. Junior’s great passion, intensity and love for the game were evident every time he stepped on the football field. He was a formidable competitor who left an indelible mark on the game of football. We extend our most sincere condolences to his family and the Charger organization.”
Tweets from Denver executive vice president John Elway:
I had the pleasure of playing against Junior for many years. He played the game the way it was meant to be played.
We shared a lot of laughs from our AFC West battles when I saw Junior before he was inducted into the Chargers HOF in November.
Junior was a true competitor and a special player. My heartfelt condolences go out to the Seau family.
The NFL Players Association
The NFL Players Association is saddened to hear of the passing of Junior Seau, a terrific player and teammate. The 12-time Pro Bowler achieved a level of success on the field that is unparalleled and his off-the-field service accomplishments are beyond admirable. The All-Decade Team linebacker’s career spanned an incredible 20 seasons, and Junior Seau’s determination and passion for the game will always be remembered in the hearts and minds of the fans. The NFLPA player family today joins with the Seau family to mourn a brother lost too soon.
Statement from Bills GM Buddy Nix:
“I am deeply saddened to hear the news of the passing of Junior Seau. This is such a tragedy and his passing will be felt by many. Junior was a great player in this league for so many years and he embodied that competitive spirit that all the great linebackers possess. My deepest sympathies and heartfelt condolences go out to his children and his entire family, his friends, the Spanos family and the Chargers organization.”
Statement from Bills defensive coordinator Dave Wannstedt:
“Hearing this news about Junior...it’s just so tragic…it’s hard to believe. I still to this day remember the day that Junior joined our family at the Dolphins. He brought a sense of renewed energy and a spirit to the field, off the field, in the weight room, just everywhere that Junior went and everyone that Junior was associated with. He instilled a belief that we hadn’t reached our potential and that we could be better and he would find a way to help make that happen. I just feel terrible but I know how much he loved his kids. I remember him coming to me and the first thing we talked about was what the offseason schedule would be and what was going to be our bye week schedule. Everything he was doing was centered around getting back to San Diego from Miami to be able to spend quality time with his kids. I don’t think there’s a better way a man could be remembered than in those terms.”
The Chargers have compiled these statements and tweets about Seau:
FORMER CHARGERS QUARTERBACK STAN HUMPHRIES
“The first thing is just the energy, the excitement that he had every day. I don’t think he could wait to get to the facility every day to practice, to watch the game tape, to get on the practice field, to get in the weight room. I know when I came there he’d been in the league for two years and when I first got there, you heard about Junior but when you actually saw him, the youth that he brought out in you was what stood out. I looked at that team back then with guys like Gill Byrd, Gary Plummer, Leslie O’Neal, veteran guys, but then you see this guy with all the youthful energy and I think he gave a lot of the older guys a little fire and brought a little of that youthfulness back to them as well. He played the game instinctively, he studied the film and did some things on his own just off film study that allowed him to make huge plays. I remember times playing with him and also times flying home on the plane with him, just getting to know him as a person. I feel bad for his kids and his family. At that young of an age, it’s just horrible.”
FORMER CHARGERS FULLBACK LORENZO NEAL (tweet)
“Today the world is not a better place we lost one of our legends. Sad to Hear about my good friend and brother Junior Seau Passing. He was a great man to his family and the community he was a great example of sportsmanship and he had such a big heart for everyone he was someone i could talk to I'm at a loss for words this one really hit me hard. I Love you and will miss you my dear friend .To His Family i love you all and you are in my Prayers One Luv Lo Neal.”
FORMER CHARGERS RUNNING BACK LADAINIAN TOMLINSON
“I don’t know what to say. I’m hurt. It’s hard to put to words how I feel right now. I learned how to be a pro because of him. I learned how to start a foundation and work in the community because of him. I learned how to relate to people because of him…fans…signing autographs. I’m just hurt. He’s an icon I looked up to my entire life before I got to San Diego. Even to this day. It’s a numb feeling in my heart right now.”
FORMER CHARGERS GENERAL MANAGER BOBBY BEATHARD (Beathard drafted Junior in 1990)
“Junior was one of the two players we drafted that I thought if you ever drew a player up that was the complete package, it would be Junior and Rodney (Harrison). Junior was such an incredible football player, and as far as being just a great person, I just love Junior. I’d see him in the summer when I’d go up to Oceanside to surf (and) we’d get together. He was such a big thing for the community. I think a lot of the people that came to our games were there to see Junior. You never had to motivate Junior. He motivated everybody else. He had energy. He played like you hope every player would play. He practiced the same way he played. I haven’t seen…the whole time I was in the NFL…I don’t know if I’ve ever seen anybody like Junior…that had it all. Just a great guy. He loved playing the game. He loved his teammates. He loved life. For the life of me I certainly can’t understand what went wrong or what happened. But I love Junior as a player and as a friend. You always look in the Draft when you’re getting ready to draft and think, ‘could we every be fortunate enough to get someone like Junior?’ Doesn’t happen very often.”
FORMER CHARGERS KICKER JOHN CARNEY
“I’m shocked and heartbroken at the news. Being a friend and teammate of Junior’s was a highlight of my career. The positive influence he spread among teammates, coaches, fans, and even opposing teams is unmatched. He’ll be greatly missed.”
FORMER CHARGERS HEAD COACH BOBBY ROSS
“I’m totally shocked and very, very saddened by the whole thing. My thoughts and prayers go out to his family, to his children and to his parents, and all of those very, very special people there. Junior, to me, was the epitome of what a football player was. The words that come to me are passion for the game. Passion for life. Intensity for the game. Intensity for life. Team player. One of the best I’ve ever been around in that respect. Tremendous team player. Tremendous leader. Tremendous leader on our football team. Love for the game. He was always the first to arrive and the last to leave each and every day of practice. Great practice player. One of the absolute best I’ve ever coached at any level. He used to frustrate our offensive coaches from time to time because of intensity at practice and his instincts. A guy that prepared greatly. He was always early in to study film. At the same he was tremendously instinctive. He relied on his instincts. But I believe a lot of those instincts were a result of preparation that he did in film preparation. I don’t know of a player in the National Football League that had a greater effect on the community in which he played, than Junior Seau. The people in San Diego literally loved him. And he loved them. It was unbelievable the way they took to another. I don’t know that there has been anyone that has done that much for their particular community they played in than Junior Seau. He was always upbeat. I never saw him down at any time in my experiences with him. He seemed to be very happy all the time. I think that’s why this is such a shock to so many people because he was such a positive person and such an upbeat person. But I’m sure most of us probably never expected anything was going on in his life. My last experience I heard from him on this golf outing that he recently had. He had wrote me a letter of thanks. His last words were, ‘love you coach.’ I’ll cherish that. I only wish I had been able to be out there with him during that particular outing.”
FORMER CHARGERS CENTER COURTNEY HALL (tweet)
Thanks everyone. My thoughts go out to his family and children. This is so heartbreaking. I have not spoken with him directly in a while, but I will always remember his easy smile, big laugh, and loving spirit. The person you saw play with so much emotion on the field is the same personality he displayed off of it.
FORMER DOLPHINS LINEBACKER JASON TAYLOR
“I’m shocked and saddened. Devastated, really. Junior was one of the most positive, uplifting people I have ever known. He was always full of life and energy and had an infectious spirit that lifted everyone around him. Junior called everyone ‘buddy’ and treated them like he had known them forever. It would be easy for me to say he was a great friend and teammates, and a tremendous competitor, but that would be selling Junior short. Junior Seau was an individual of great honor and integrity, a leader of men and someone with a deep-rooted passion for giving of himself to make the people, the community and especially the children around him better. This is an immeasurable loss for so many. My heart and prayers go out to Junior’s family, Gina and their children. I’m going to miss you buddy.”
SAINTS QUARTERBACK DREW BREES (tweet)
“So sad to hear about (Junior). Junebug. Buddy. The greatest teammate a young guy could ask for. This is a sad day. He will be missed greatly.”
CHARGERS DEFENSIVE TACKLE ANTONIO GARAY (tweet)
“Words cannot explain the sadness I feel right now for the loss of Junior Seau. My prayers & love go out to his family. Junior was a man that symbolized passion both on & off the field. I pray that everyone can learn to live every moment as passionate as Junior did. You will be greatly missed buddeeee.”
SAN DIEGO MAYOR JERRY SANDERS
“Junior Seau was one of the most electrifying athletes in San Diego sports history. He was a passionate figure who gave the game of football – and Chargers fans everywhere – everything he had. His passion for the San Diego region was also felt through his charitable work, which did so much good in so many ways.”
NFL COMMISSIONER ROGER GOODELL
“All of us are deeply saddened about Junior Seau, a great player loved by teammates who also worked hard to serve his community. Junior and his family will remain in our thoughts.”
UPDATE: Denver quarterback Peyton Manning released the following statement on Seau:
“When I first got into the league in 1998, the two most dominating defenders I played against were Junior Seau and Bruce Smith. Junior was truly an once-in-a-lifetime player. I remember how many times we would be getting ready to play him and the Chargers and someone would say, ‘This is a blitz here.’ And I would say, ‘That’s not a blitz; that’s just Junior Seau smelling something and going after it.’ He was very difficult to play against because his instincts would always lead him to the right place on defense—or the wrong place for the offense. He and Ray Lewis are the two best linebackers I’ve ever played against, and I know many others would feel the same way.
“I had the great pleasure of playing against Junior but I also had the honor of playing with Junior in a couple of Pro Bowls. Just in those shorts weeks of Pro Bowl practices, nobody had more passion for the game than Junior Seau. His energy and enthusiasm—you could tell how it spread back to his teammates with the Chargers, Dolphins and Patriots. I also got to attend some charity functions with him and I saw how philanthropic he was in giving his time and money to several worthy causes.
“To me, Junior had a quality of making the people around him feel special and comfortable. It didn’t matter what environment he was in—he had just a great energy and an aura about him that people gravitated to. That’s why he was such a great leader. I always felt good being around him. He was truly a one-of-a-kind football player and a one-of-a-kind person just because of his passion.
“I was honored to call Junior a friend and I was deeply saddened by the news of his passing. I will truly miss him, and I know a lot of people are going to miss him. My heartfelt condolences go out to his family.”
Kansas City general manger Scott Pioli (who was with Seau in New England) released this statement:
“I’m shocked and saddened by the tragic passing of Junior Seau. Junior was a phenomenal football player, but more importantly a great man who I considered a friend. He was a player that always reminded us that football should be fun and he was a true joy to be around. This is a tremendous loss for all of those who were blessed to cross his path. My thoughts and prayers are with his family.”
Here are more tributes and statements of about t he death of Chargers superstar linebacker Junior Seau. He was 43:The Oakland Raiders:“We are deeply saddened by the news of the passing of Junior Seau.