PFHOF Profile: Junior Seau

junior11The concussion issue in the NFL has exploded in the last few years with more and more players coming out with major issues due to head injuries.

Not too long ago the attitude from fans, coaches, and players was to take a hit and keep going forward no matter what.

Countless players had their bell rung and yet continued to play without regard for their health.

That attitude is beginning to show signs of being the wrong attitude to have when playing such a physical sport.

Players are now being diagnosed with Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE) that has been linked with depression and dementia.

More and more players are finding life after football a challenge as headaches and massive depression have changed their lives forever.

It has been a massive story every year for the last few years as former players have launched lawsuits claiming that the NFL knew about the dangers and never told players.

Meanwhile more players enter into the tough reality of retirement while dealing with these mental health issues.

An unfortunate poster boy of this issue in the NFL has been Junior Seau who struggled through his retirement and committed suicide in 2012.

After his family donated his brain to be studied it was determined that he had suffered from signs of CTE that likely caused his insomnia and may have caused depression as well.

Those issues likely were a major factor in his suicide and the NFL and fans alike took notice.

They took notice because Seau was one of the best players in the game and more so because he was one of the best people in the NFL.

Seau was someone who everyone knew loved to play football with a smile on his face almost always.

It was rare that he wasn’t having a good time on the field and he brought that love of the game off of the field where he established the Junior Seau Foundation.

The foundation was meant to help educate and support children with programs to prevent child abuse, drug abuse, and providing after school programs.junior-seau

His work off of the field was his legacy even more than his work on the field and that is the way he would have preferred it.

Although his generosity is his lasting legacy the fact is that Seau was one of the greatest linebackers in the NFL.

There was a grit to his game and a determination to not allow anyone past him in the second level.

He had an athletic ability that is a rare in most linebackers as he was able to take risks while he was playing.

It often seemed like he was out of position when he played but he had that athletic ability to make up for his position.

That ability led to almost 2,000 tackles in his career to go along with 56.5 sacks making him one of the best linebackers in the game.

Unfortunately for Seau he could never get a championship even though he was on some great teams.

Those teams included the New England Patriots who went undefeated all season before losing the New York Giants in the Super Bowl.

Despite being a veteran presence on that team Seau couldn’t help them to the one game that mattered the most.

He also helped to bring the Chargers to their first Super Bowl as the anchor of a good defence but once again they fell short.

Seau is another player who can be put into the hall of fame based purely on his stats despite the fact that the championships aren’t there.

Those players are rare and now he enters the hall of fame on a day that won’t be as joyous as some others.

The reason being that he will not be there to enjoy the day all because of something that is dominating the headlines.

It will be both a sad day and a happy day as a great player gets the recognition he deserved but will launch a larger conversation among the NFL world.

jseau.fw

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