Seau’s death leaves questions unanswered


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Story by Taylor Potter, Staff Writer

Few people our age know just how great the recently deceased Junior Seau was. When we think of great linebackers, we think of Ray Lewis, Tedy Bruschi, etc. When we think of great sportsmen, we think of Peyton Manning, Steve Young, and so on. People fail to mention the man who taught them how to play, how to act and how to live.

The 12-time Pro Bowl linebacker was found dead Wednesday with a single bullet wound in his chest. The case is being investigated by law enforcement officers as a suicide, even though there was no note. Seau’s family and teammates were devastated, to say the least. They begged and cried for explanations about why a man so talented and charitable would even consider taking his own life.

Sometimes as fans, we fail to understand the lives of these men. Sure, I know how many tackles Seau had with the Chargers, but I don’t know his financial situation. I don’t know his family life. I don’t know his life.

ESPN’s Adam Schefter did a report a few years ago saying that most NFL players will be borderline bankrupt in two years or less, either from irresponsibility or divorce. Most of the these players come from less fortunate backgrounds, then suddenly have millions of dollars. A lot of players didn’t have parents who taught them to be fiscally responsible. This life full of riches was not the one they were used to. It ruined them.

For all we know, this may have been Seau’s situation. He may have been part of the unfortunate majority of retired NFL players who lost their riches. Seau had been a man who gave a large portion of his extra time and money to charity. Maybe he ended up donating too much. We don’t know.

We do know that Seau was as good a man off the field as he was on it. He was the definition of leadership. At charity events, he was the man getting everyone pumped up. He was the man jumping around. He always had a smile on his face.

His death, especially under the probable circumstances, will certainly leave emotional scars with his family, friends and teammates. One of his closest friends and teammate, Marcellus Wiley, was asked to do an interview on one of ESPN’s broadcast. He told numerous stories through his obvious sorrow about Seau’s great love for the game and everyone in his life. He described his bond with Seau through tears and pain. But what hurt him the most was that he didn’t know why. Why did his best friend kill himself without a word? Why didn’t his friend confide in him? Why didn’t he show any pain?

On another ESPN broadcast, Mike and Mike in the Morning, hosts Mike Greenberg and Mike Golic proposed a possible explanation to the secrecy. They used the analogy of a class reunion. At a reunion, you want to appear successful, strong and happy. When Seau ran into another player, such as when he saw Hall of Fame receiver Jerry Rice days before his death, he wanted to look like he used to play. Rice said Seau was energized, pumped and overall happy. That’s how he wanted to be remembered.

While I don’t know what happened to Seau to cause his demise, there are things I do know. I know that he was a great athlete. I know that he always gave his all. I know that he was charitable. I know that he cared about the people in his life. I know that I will remember Junior Seau as an outstanding athlete, dedicated leader and an overall good man.