NFL legend Junior Seau was found dead today at his home in Oceanside, California and is likely the victim of a self-inflicted gunshot wound, according to local police. The police received a 911 call about the death around 10 a.m. local time and a coroner arrived about 90 minutes later, according to reports on TMZ.com
Seau turned 43 earlier this year and was the father of three children.
Seau was an especially visible figure in Southern California. He was born in San Diego, starred at USC in the late 1980s, and spent 20 years in the NFL (1990-2009), the first 13 with the San Diego Chargers. He was the No. 5 overall pick by the Chargers in the 1990 NFL draft.
He was a member of San Diego’s 1994 AFC Champion team and a member of the undefeated 16-0 New England Patriots of 2007, who lost to the Giants in Super Bowl XLII. He also spent three seasons with the Miami Dolphins.
Seau was one of the great ironmen linebackers in NFL history: from 1990 to 2003 he missed just nine games. He was a 12-time Pro Bowler and 6-time first-team All Pro and is a likely future Hall of Famer.
Seau is the latest in a long series of NFL legends who died young in his post-playing days under tragic circumstances. Eleven-year NFL veteran Dave Duerson
, for example, committed suicide just last year, and blamed his mental degeneration on damage he suffered playing pro football.
The deaths have had a material impact on the league in recent years and the Seau death will certainly contribute more to the debate over the nature of pro football.
Football Nation will continue to follow these stories.