The late Junior Seau was elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame on Saturday, less than three years after his passing.
Seau transcended the game over his tenure with the San Diego Chargers from 1990 to 2002, the Miami Dolphins from 2003 to 2005, and the New England Patriots from 2006 to 2009. The former No. 5 overall draft pick out of Southern California was named a Pro Bowler 12 times, a first-team All-Pro eight times, an AFC Defensive Player of the Year two times, and an AFC Player of the Year one time over that span.
The 6-foot-3, 250-pound linebacker was longevity. But he was more than that.
“He was a phenomenal player, teammate, friend,” Patriots quarterback Tom Brady said in his press conference earlier this week. “His attitude was infectious. He brought enthusiasm every day to practice. He showed up in the room and he’d be the first person there at six in the morning on the treadmill running, going into his 18th year in the league.”
Seau’s final four NFL seasons were spent with New England, where he went on to play in his second Super Bowl in February of 2008 before retiring for a second time on Jan. 13, 2010.
On May 2, 2012, Seau was gone at age 43.
“He had a love for life and he’s missed by all of his family and friends, and certainly by me, all the guys that had a chance to be around him,” Brady added. “He was a special person. I have no doubt he’ll be elected. If he can’t make it, nobody can. He’s truly one of a kind. And it was a privilege playing with him.”
Joining Seau in Canton, Ohio is running back Jerome Bettis, receiver Tim Brown, guard Will Shields, center Mick Tingelhoff, defensive end Charles Haley, and executives Bill Polian and Ron Wolf.