NFL Superstar Junior Seau is going to be a first-ballot Hall of Famer but he won’t be there to make a speech. On the morning of Wednesday May 2nd, 2012, the 43 year-old Seau took his own life. He texted his ex-wife, Gina, and each of their three children, “I love you” and in the morning, his girlfriend found him, in his residence, with a gunshot wound to the chest.
Seau played at the University of Southern California and was drafted fifth overall in 1990, by the San Diego Chargers. He played 20 years of NFL football, and was a Miami Dolphin between April 16, 2003 and March 6, 2006. He was a Pro-Bowler for 12 consecutive years (1991-2002) and is a member of the NFL’s 1990s All-Decade Team.
Seau is the eighth member of the Chargers’ 1994 Super Bowl team who has died. Teammates Lew Bush, Rodney Culver, David Griggs, Shawn Lee, Doug Miller, Chris Mims, and Curtis Whitley all died before age 45.
On February 17, 2011, 50 year-old Dave Duerson, who was a four time Pro-Bowler with the Chicago Bears, died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the chest. Prior to this, he sent a text message to his family, requesting that his brain be used for research at Boston University, which is conducting an investigation into the link between professional football and chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE). Through this research, it was determined that Duerson had brain degeneration resulting from multiple concussions.
CTE used to be associated to boxers, who have a history of repetitive brain trauma, but lately the disease has been reported as affecting a multitude of retired NFL players. This type of brain degeneration can cause depression and dementia.
Regardless of the reason for his suicide, one of the best linebackers in NFL history, Junior Seau, will be missed but his legacy will be with us forever.