August 14, 2006
JIM BAIRD / Union-Tribune
1. Intercepting John Elway to preserve a 37-34 season-opening victory at Denver in 1994. The game was the season in microcosm as the Chargers advanced to their only Super Bowl.
2. Intercepting Raiders QB Vince Evans at the Los Angeles Coliseum in 1992 to help secure the franchise's first playoff berth in a decade.
3. His 16 tackles in a 17-13 victory over the Steelers in the 1994 season AFC Championship Game.
4. A 1996 home victory over the Chiefs in which he had 12 tackles, two interceptions and one tremendous play, bulling his way through running back Marcus Allen for a late-game sack.
5. In 1999, his12-tackle, two-sack performance in a victory over the Lions and former Chargers coach Bobby Ross.
After earning unanimous All-America honors at USC, Seau is drafted fifth overall by the Chargers. Despite a lengthy preseason holdout, he finishes the year as the team's No. 2 tackler.
Voted to the first of 12 consecutive Pro Bowls after leading the team in tackles (129) and recording seven sacks.
Named All-Pro and NFL Defensive Player of the Year by several publications. Has 19 tackles in a playoff game vs. Miami.
Voted team's co-MVP with 129 tackles and 19 tackles-for-loss.
SEAN M. HAFFEY / Union-Tribune
Junior Seau starred on Chargers teams that were good (Super Bowl in 1994), bad (1-15 in 2000) and indifferent (8-8 in 2002, at age 33 hitting Miami's Jay Lucas here).
Scores his only career TD with a fumble return in a victory over the Eagles; has a team-high 13 tackles in the season finale against the Giants and pressures the QB into throwing an interception that helps seal a playoff spot.
Earns All-Pro honors and twice is named AFC Defensive Player of the Week, once after a victory over the Chiefs in which he has 12 tackles, two interceptions and a sack.
Misses season opener while recovering from arthroscopic knee surgery; later plays through a broken big toe and is voted the team's Most Inspirational Player.
Receives All-Pro honors again despite the team's 5-11 record; also is named team MVP and team Defensive Player of the Year after leading the Chargers with 115 tackles.
Catches two passes for 8 yards as an H-back in short-yardage situations; is voted team MVP for the third straight year.
EZRA SHAW / Getty Images
From his rookie season in 1990 until his trade to Miami after the 2002 season, when his career was winding down, Junior Seau was unquestionably the face of the Chargers defense. A homegrown son of Oceanside, he was also the face of San Diego as seen by the rest of the NFL.
Named team MVP for a fifth straight season and moves past QB Dan Fouts on games-played list when he reaches 182.
Voted to 12th consecutive Pro Bowl, though he is unable to participate because of an ankle injury that hinders him during the season; is traded to Miami for a conditional late-round draft pick in the offseason.
Starts 15 games in his first season with the Dolphins and ranks second on the team with 133 tackles.
Starts eight games before tearing a pectoral muscle Nov. 1 and going on injured reserve; finishes with 68 tackles (eighth on team), a sack, a fumble recovery and one pass defensed; named True Value NFL Man of the Year for his charitable off-field work.
Appears in only seven games because of an Achilles' tendon injury and is placed on injured reserve in late November.
–JIM TROTTERQuotes on Seau
August 15, 2006
“He was as energetic a player as I've ever been around, just all the time, not sometimes. People can turn it on and off, but when he got on the field he practiced hard and played hard. I believe he's a true warrior, I really do. I don't know what he's going to do next, but he loved to play football. He always said that.”
Former Chargers defensive coordinator Joe Pascale
“Where you had to stop him was in those gaps, because he was in the middle of those gaps all the time – 2, 3 yards in the backfield. His game was penetration. He blew up many, many a play. If you could go through his career and put together all the highlights of him penetrating the line and blowing stuff up in the backfield, it'd probably take you two days to look at it. Penetration is the one word that always comes to my mind with him, because that's the way he played.”
Chargers coach Marty Schottenheimer
“He's a great football player, but not only that he's a great human being. He brought so much on the field, but he gave so much off the field. He has to be one of the greatest 50 players (all-time) and probably the top two or three at his position. There's no doubt about it. The way this guy played and the intensity he brought to the game, he's definitely a first-ballot Hall of Famer.”
Guard Doug Wilkerson, a member of the Chargers Hall of Fame
“I've heard a lot of great things about him. He did a lot for the game – not just for the Chargers, but for the game.”
Chargers Pro Bowl linebacker Shawne Merriman
“He's the best. Like LT said, he's probably the best Charger to ever put on the uniform. He changed the game.”
Chargers fullback Lorenzo Neal
“The thing that's kind of funny is, you hear about all these guys like Jevon Kearse now – The (athletic) Freak. Trust me, Junior Seau was a freak long before Jevon Kearse.”
Former Chargers linebacker Gary Plummer
“He was truly the heart and soul of our organization for the 13 years that he was here. He saw some difficult times, but he also saw the best times of the franchise.”
Chargers president Dean Spanos
“Junior was the most competitive guy I've ever been around. He was the greatest linebacker of all time because no one's really been that consistent for that long. And the way he threw his body around on the field, I'm surprised he lasted that long.”
Miami linebacker Zach Thomas
“Junior represents everything that is great about the game of football. I was a big fan of his when he was with the Chargers, and I'm an even bigger fan now that I've played alongside of him.”
Miami defensive end Jason Taylor
“Junior Seau is, without a doubt, a first-ballot Hall of Famer. Junior's rare passion and fire for the game is only rivaled by his desire to help his fellow man.”
Hall of Fame running back Marcus Allen