Last year 50-year-old former Chicago Bears player Dave Duerson was found dead in his Florida home last year from a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the chest. Before his death, he texted his family asking for his brain to be used for research (hence why he shot himself in the chest). Months later, researcher neurologists at Boston University confirmed Duerson had suffered from a neurodegenerative disease linked to concussions. It’s likely Junior Seau shot himself in the chest for the same reason.
The NFL will be taking a longer, harder look at concussions in today’s game. They have been recently criticized due to failing to link NFL injuries with brain damage post-retirement.
Coach Jim Harbaugh issued a heartfelt statement Wednesday afternoon in response to the apparent suicide of Junior Seau, who during his 20-year career played with Harbaugh on the San Diego Chargers in 1999-2000.
I, along with the entire NFL family, the San Diego community and those who shared a life with Junior, grieve the loss of the ultimate teammate and friend. I am saddened that I was not there for Junior as he had always been for his teammates and friends.
The qualities I most respected in Junior were the caring and respect he showed to all those with whom he came in contact. One of my fondest remembrances as a professional football player was looking across the locker room after playing my last career game with the Chargers and knowing that I had shared that moment with one of the greatest teammates and competitors the game has ever known. The moment moved me to get off my stool, approach Junior and ask him to trade jerseys. It’s the only time I had done that in my career.
My thoughts and prayers go out to Junior’s family.
Harbaugh’s final game action as an NFL quarterback came in that 2000 season alongside Seau and the Chargers.
Junior Seau will be remembered as one of the greatest players in NFL history at any position, a 6-foot-3, 248-pound wrecking ball who made the Pro Bowl 12 years in a row and was voted All-Pro 10 times.