Remembering Junior Seau - NBC 7 San Diego

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Remembering
Junior Seau
1969-2012
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Junior Seau was one of the best linebackers to ever play the game of football.

That will be codified when the National Football League inducts him into their Hall of Fame in August. Seau's energy and bone-shaking performance made him one of the most loved players in the game.

Coaches praised him for his work ethic, and how he’d still show up in the weight room at 6 a.m. before anyone else arrived. Teammates admired his leadership and how energetically he played. Crowds roared for his monstrous sacks, dubbing him Junior “Say-Ow."

Seau was also a SoCal everyman.

He wore flip flops onto ‘The Tonight Show’ with Jay Leno. He loved to surf, and play ukulele. He started a foundation dedicated to community service. And he carried himself with an infectious joy and energy adored by fans and friends alike.

Throughout his 20 seasons in the NFL, Seau played for three different teams, was a 6-time All-Pro team and 12-time Pro-Bowler, and led the San Diego Chargers to one of their best seasons in team history. Here are a few highlights of life and career of the man San Diego came to love.

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Childhood & High School

Tiaina Baul Seau Jr. was born January 19, 1969, in San Diego, California. He attended Oceanside High School in Oceanside, San Diego, where he lettered in multiple sports, including football.

College

Seau starred as a linebacker at the University of Southern California in 1988 and 1989. Seau was so dominant as a college player that his jersey, No. 55, would continue to be worn by elite linebackers at USC — including players like Willie McGinest, Chris Claiborne, Lamar Dawson, and Keith Rivers. Seau was named an All-American in 1989.

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San Diego Chargers

After USC, Seau joined his hometown San Diego Chargers after being selected as a first-round NFL draft pick. There, he made the all-pro team 6 times, and was a 12-time pro-bowler. While with the Chargers, Seau helped lead the team to one of their best seasons in team history, winning the 1994 AFC Championship and appearing in their first and only Super Bowl final to date.

1994-95 AFC Championship / Photo: AP

Post-Chargers NFL Career

In 2003, Seau was traded to the Miami Dolphins, where he played until 2005. He announced his retirement from football, but that only lasted for four days. He signed with the New England Patriots, where he would finish his career. In 2007, he was the team’s defensive captain during the undefeated run to the Super Bowl final.

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Community Service

Seau was very involved in his community. His foundation sponsored many events, including "Shop with a Jock," which organized local pro and amateur athletes to help children from local Boys and Girls Clubs shop for holiday gifts. He was honored by President George W. Bush during Asian-Pacific American Heritage Month in 2005 for his sustained commitment to volunteer service.

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In Memoriam

After Seau's sudden death in 2012, fans and family members were shocked. People held vigils outside Seau's home, and others organized a 'paddle-out' in honor of Seau's love for surfing. Southern California mourned the loss of a hometown hero. He was 43.

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