It started slowly; you could barely separate the sound from all the cheering.
“Seau, Seau, Seau.”
The chant built and built until it seemed the whole stadium was taking part. The noise was enough to give you chills.
Junior Seau’s #55 jersey was retired in a pre-game ceremony before the Chargers took on the Titans Sunday.
Chargers’ legendary quarterback Dan Fouts officiated the ceremony. Fouts (14) and Lance Alworth (19) are the only other retired Chargers numbers.
“There is no one more deserving than our friend Junior,” Fouts said.
Fouts presented the retired jersey to Seau’s four children to an erupting crowd.
As highlight after highlight of Seau film played on the Jumbo Tron, there were misty eyes throughout the scorching stadium.
“There is only one Junior Seau,” Fouts said. “And only one 55. And they belong together forever.”
Just when you thought the crowd couldn’t cheer any louder, the 55 banner was unfurled next to Alworth’s.
The noise was deafening.
On a personal note, I grew up watching Seau dominate the field for the Chargers.
He gave the phrase, “take the field by storm,” a new meaning. No one could get the crowded riled up like Seau could. You would start hearing chants of “Say-Ow!”
I never had the chance to personally meet Seau but there are some reputations that are so radiant they expand and grow until that brilliance envelops you so that you feel a part of it.
Seau’s was one of those reputations.
Sunday he was honored as he should: in his beloved city, in front of his home crowd, on the field he owned during his 12 years as a Bolt and by another Chargers’ name that has transcended time.
“His play on the field combined with his leadership and charisma became the face of this team for more than a decade,” Chargers’ President Dean Spanos said in an interview with Chargers’ public relations assistant Scott Yoffe. “I can’t think of anyone more deserving of this honor.”