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Reports: NFL great Junior Seau commits suicide

By Gillian Flaccus

Associated Press

LAST UPDATED: 01:13 p.m. HST, May 02, 2012

OCEANSIDE, Calif. >> Former NFL star Junior Seau was found shot to death at his home Wednesday morning in what police said appeared to be a suicide. He was 43.

Police Chief Frank McCoy said Seau's girlfriend reported finding him unconscious with a gunshot wound to the chest and lifesaving efforts were unsuccessful. A gun was found near him, McCoy said.

Seau's mother appeared before reporters, weeping uncontrollably.

"I don't understand ... I'm shocked," Luisa Seau cried out.

Her son gave no indication of a problem when she spoke to him by phone earlier this week, she said.

"He's joking to me, he called me a 'homegirl,'" she said.

Seau was a standout linebacker with the University of Southern California before going to the San Diego Chargers — his hometown team — whom he led to the Super Bowl following the 1994 season.

"Everyone at the Chargers is in complete shock and disbelief right now. We ask everyone to stop what they're doing and send their prayers to Junior and his family," the team said in a statement.

Seau's death follows the suicide last year of former Chicago Bears player Dave Duerson, who shot himself in the chest.

Seau remained with the Chargers until 2003 and went on to play with the Miami Dolphins and New England Patriots before retiring after the 2009 season.

"Junior was a fierce competitor whose passion and work ethic lifted his teammates to greater heights. His enthusiasm for the game was infectious and he passed that on to everyone who was around him. He loved the game so much, and no one played with more sheer joy," Dolphins CEO Mike Dee said in a statement.

"Junior was one-of-a-kind. The league will never see anyone like him again," Dee said.

The Patriots also issued a statement expressing grief over Seau's death. "This is a sad day for the entire Patriots organization, our coaches and his many Patriots teammates," the statement said.

In October 2010, Seau survived a 100-foot plunge down a seaside cliff in his SUV, hours after he was arrested for investigation of domestic violence at the Oceanside home he shared with his girlfriend. The woman had told authorities that Seau assaulted her during an argument.

There was no evidence of drugs or alcohol involved in the crash and Seau told authorities he fell asleep while driving. He sustained minor injuries.

Seau spent parts of 20 seasons in the NFL, including his 1990-2002 stint with his hometown Chargers. He helped them to their only Super Bowl appearance, was voted to a team-record 12 straight Pro Bowls and was an All-Pro six times.

He amassed 545 tackles, 56½ sacks and 18 interceptions in his career.

"Twenty years, to be part of this kind of fraternity, to be able to go out and play the game that you love, and all the lessons and the friends and acquaintances which you meet along the way, you can't be in a better arena," Seau said last August after the Chargers announced he would be inducted into the team's Hall of Fame.

Seau was the fifth pick overall in the 1990 draft out of Southern California, and stayed with the Charges until being traded to the Dolphins. He came out of retirement a few times to play with the Patriots in search of a Super Bowl ring and was with the team when they lost to the New York Giants in the Super Bowl following the 2007 season, which ended New England's quest for a perfect season.

More than 100 people gathered outside of Seau's home, only hours after he was found dead. Families showed up with flowers and fans wearing Chargers jerseys waited to get more news.

Seau was beloved in San Diego, where he created a foundation and had a popular restaurant that bore his name.

Louie Lieras, 54, of Oceanside was driving through the area when he saw a number of cars parked outside Seau's house. Once Lieras heard the news about Seau's death, he went home and put on an old Chargers jersey with Seau's name on the back.

"I don't know how you could give this up. This was his backyard. He's never going to see it again," said Lieras, gesturing toward the Pacific Ocean just yards from Seau's front door. "I feel for the family and his children." 

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MoTown808 wrote:
on May 2,2012 | 09:25AM
jusmetwocents wrote:
My thoughts and prayers are with his family... Tragic end to a great career!
on May 2,2012 | 09:38AM
fairgame947 wrote:
One of my favorites all time. A permanent solution to a temporary problem? Very sad.
on May 2,2012 | 09:40AM
HD36 wrote:
Doesn't make sense why a millionaire football player, only 43, would kill himself. Follow the money and see who stood to gain money from his death. Check his blood for sleeping intoxicants. Someone could have slipped a strong sedative in his drink, then put the gun in his hand and made it look like a suicide.
on May 2,2012 | 09:44AM
mrluke wrote:
on May 2,2012 | 09:56AM
HD36 wrote:
What you a detective? How many suicides where the person shot themselve in the chest? Most shoot themselves in the head. GET REAL!
on May 2,2012 | 10:12AM
Poipounder808 wrote:
Thanks Sherlock.
on May 2,2012 | 10:44AM
Revelation wrote:
if he was slipped a strong sedative the autopsy would reveal such things... also if they found gunpowder residue on juniors hand, that in itself would be sufficient evidence of suicide.. the only person that could have shot him like that would be someone he knew, maybe his beaten and battered girlfriend, thats motive right there... id check her for gunpowder residue..
on May 2,2012 | 10:52AM
mrluke wrote:
Another conspiracy theorist. I think HD36 has seen too many Columbo reruns. BTW, many suicides do shoot themselves in the chest.
on May 2,2012 | 11:06AM
HD36 wrote:
You're naive to believe whatever the press reports. Also, even if there was suspicious evidence, they wouldn't report it before investigating further.
on May 2,2012 | 07:09PM
loquaciousone wrote:
Seau's death follows the suicide last year of former Chicago Bears player Dave Duerson, who shot himself in the chest.
on May 2,2012 | 02:22PM
KammyKam wrote:
Thank you Mr. Obvious
on May 2,2012 | 02:54PM
PabloWegesend wrote:
Dave Duerson, (another NFL player who committed suicide) have shot himself in the chest (instead of the head) so that scientists could study his brains that were affected by concussions. You might find that strange, but strange things do happen in real life!
on May 2,2012 | 03:01PM
BlueDolphin53 wrote:
Really? That's what goes through your mind upon reading that someone might have killed himself? Good grief.....
on May 2,2012 | 04:15PM
news333 wrote:
Catholic Herald had a an article decades ago about suiside. Mr J. is waiting on the other side. I dont encourage suicide for the loss it leaves the family, but it does NOT mean one goes to hell. Everyone, lets stop saying people who commit suicide go to hell. They end up the same place the rest of us do. If u ask me right now, Hell is just a made up place for paranoid western Christians, like me.
on May 2,2012 | 09:45AM
BlueDolphin53 wrote:
Prior to your post, where did anyone bring up hell?
on May 2,2012 | 04:14PM
A class act both on and off the field..too many memories of watching him dismantle my KC Chiefs offense every time they lined up at Arrowhead, but you had to respect his dedication and natural talent..tears for one of the greatest to ever play defense..
on May 2,2012 | 10:07AM
Bully wrote:
Sad, he had it all but obviously did not know what he had.
on May 2,2012 | 10:08AM
cojef wrote:
Condolences to the family. May he find peace.
on May 2,2012 | 10:33AM
teotwawki wrote:
In the end all the lessons,friends and acquaintances could'nt save him from himself. RIP #55
on May 2,2012 | 10:31AM
CriticalReader wrote:
Will this become de rigeur for former NFL football players? Shooting themselves in the chest so that their brains can be analyzed? You gotta believe that Seau had many, many concussions during his 20 year pro career, 4 years of college, and 4 of high school. If they find brain damage, whataya wanna bet It started while he played in high school?
on May 2,2012 | 11:32AM
lowtone123 wrote:
You guys watch too much CSI on TV.
on May 2,2012 | 01:58PM
rmrtko wrote:
Met him once at the Kapolei Safeway when he was here for the Pro Bowl. He was very respectful to me and apologized when I believe his young daughter accidentally ran into me. From that point on he was one of my favorites. Very saddened by the news of his passing. My prayers and thoughts go out to his family. Rest in peace Junior.
on May 2,2012 | 02:35PM
ftaele83 wrote:
RIP Buddy!!!
on May 2,2012 | 06:34PM
WKAMA wrote:
A lot of athletes get to the top when they're still young. But then when they are not useful to any team any more and have not prepared themselves educationally, or otherwise, to live out the rest of their lives usefully they become depressed because all they have left are the memories.
on May 2,2012 | 06:44PM
ftaele83 wrote:
I dont think Seau's post-football situation lacked preparation. In fact, he had it all! USC grad...tv commentator gigs...reality show...2 successful restaraunts...huge non profit foundation...and many many adoring family relatives and friends. NFL has got to look into taking care of not just Seau...but, all NFL players while theyre players...and esp. after they leave their careers...sad day
on May 3,2012 | 01:25AM
keys4me wrote:
I don't believe it. and i mean that.
on May 2,2012 | 07:01PM
nodaddynotthebelt wrote:
Truly a sad story.
on January 17,2013 | 01:43PM
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