Honestly over the past few years we have seen far too many NFL players pass, it is time for the NFL to look further into this issue of mental health and the impact that the physical nature of the game has on the lives of these young men. I know it has been some time since the passing of Junior Seau but here are my thoughts:
Let’s go ahead and set the record straight, Junior Seau was a force on the field from Trojan Country at Southern California to the big stage in the NFL Seau was a dominant presence. He was a hybrid when it came to linebackers in the NFL, he was big and strong but was fast and could make plays anywhere on the field. Junior Seau began his career in the NFL in 1990 with the San Diego Chargers, needless to say he became the standard for the Chargers defense, but it wasn’t until his second season that he really made a mark on the team posting 7 sacks in 16 games. From that point on he created chaos whenever he was on the field at one point becoming one of the best linebackers to play in the NFL. He played 12 seasons with the San Diego Chargers and a combined 20 in total (with Dolphins and Patriots). Seau was more than just a football player he was as real as it got, many talk about how he was one of the most encouraging people you would ever meet and how he never met a stranger. The smile you saw on Sundays was not only for the love of the game but it was also for the love of life itself. On Wednesday May 4th
Junior Seau was found dead in his home from an apparent gun shot wound to his chest, police are saying it was a result of suicide. So how could this man that was so full of life choose to take his own? How could a man that many would say had it all and lived the dream turn to such a final end? Let’s examine.
Football is such a physical sport many, from Pop Warner to the NFL, practice day in and day out it becomes their life. When you put so much into a game that you love, it is hard to let it go. How many have we seen that play too long or think they have one more year left in them until their bodies just can’t take it anymore. Or how often have we seen many players that cannot recover from the effects of the game that they love so much. In Seau’s case maybe it was a little of both, we understand that the evidence has not all been weighed, but what if this is a suicide. Could it be from all the punishment he took from years of playing the game he loved? Or could it be from just not being able to deal with the fact that its over? I feel this is an issue that must be addressed by the NFL; we have seen far too many players with their lives cut short because of various issues. The NFL must stand by their players and families in this time of need, more than just the concussion issues things must be looked into further about the effects of mental health. I will say I love this game more than anyone but we cannot have mothers burying their sons or wives burying husbands without any pursuit to cure this plague.
In my mind Junior Seau was a legend, he changed the way linebackers play the game today and he will be missed by fans, teammates and his family. The one thing that will be missed most is his passion for the game, how he played the game and the smile that he had every Sunday, so to this we say our thoughts and prayers go out to the family and friends in this time of mourning, his heart and passion for the game will be greatly missed.