"Junior left a message for Chargers President Dean Spanos today alerting him that he may sign a contract and play for the New England Patriots," the Chargers said Thursday in a statement. "If, in fact, he chooses to continue his playing career, we wish him good health and the best of luck this season. Junior's place in the Chargers Hall of Fame awaits him when his career is over."
The San Diego Union-Tribune first reported on its Web site that Seau was heading to Boston for a tryout and could sign by the end of the week. Seau's agent, Marvin Demoff, did not return several calls from The Associated Press.
Reached in Chicago, where the Chargers will play the Bears on Friday night, Spanos declined comment. The Patriots did not immediately respond to a request for comment, but coach Bill Belichick recalled Monday that he got to know Seau in Hawaii in 1998 -- one of Seau's 12 Pro Bowl selections.
"He's always been a very energetic, high-energy type of player that has made a lot of big plays through his career," Belichick said when asked to comment on Seau's retirement. "He's had a good career, 16 years he's been playing, pretty good."
The Patriots are looking for linebackers because Tedy Bruschi has a broken hand and Willie McGinest, another mainstay of their three Super Bowl titles, signed with the Cleveland Browns as a free agent. Chad Brown and Monte Beisel are also hurt.
Seau grew up in suburban San Diego and starred at Southern California before the Chargers took him fifth overall in the 1990 draft. He led San Diego to the 1995 Super Bowl -- its only appearance in the NFL title game -- but was cut loose in the spring of 2003.
He played three seasons in Miami before the Dolphins released him.
"It's pretty easy. When a team doesn't want you or need you, retire, buddy," he told a crowd of about 300 family, friends, players and team executives Monday at Chargers headquarters.
"I'm not retiring. I am graduating. Today is my graduation day. Retirement means that you'll just go ahead and live on your laurels and surf all day in Oceanside. It ain't going to happen."
Even as he announced his retirement, Seau said he was healthy and still able to play. Asked if his decision was irreversible, Seau said: "I can't answer that. I really can't.
"What situation can get me out of it? I don't know," he said. "If there's a need team out there, I'm definitely going to look at it. But we're almost halfway through training camp. I'm 37 years old."