Junior Seau sent texts to ex-wife, kids before killing himself
Former football star Junior Seau sent text messages to his children and ex-wife saying he loved them, a day before he was found fatally wounded in what police are investigating as a suicide.
Oceanside Police Chief Frank McCoy said Seau’s girlfriend came to the beachfront home about 9:30 a.m. and found him dead in one of the bedrooms. Police and paramedics tried to resuscitate him but were unsuccessful.
McCoy said Seau died of a gunshot to the chest, with a handgun found near the body. The case is being investigated as a suicide, although police found no suicide note.
Seau’s ex-wife, Gina, said that on Tuesday he sent her and each of their three children — Sydney, Jake and Hunter — a text message, ending with “I love you.”
His mother, Luisa, wept as she told reporters that she had no warning that her son was on the verge of suicide.
Seau retired from the San Diego Chargers in 2006 and then “unretired” several days later, saying he was not ready to leave a game that he loved. He retired permanently after the 2009 season.
On Wednesday, some saw similarities between the deaths of Seau and former Chicago Bears safety Dave Duerson, who died of a self-inflicted gunshot to the chest last year. In a suicide note, Duerson had asked his family to donate his brain to the Boston University School of Medicine.
Researchers from that school later determined Duerson suffered from a neurodegenerative disease linked to concussions, and that played a role in triggering his depression. The San Diego County medical examiner said an autopsy for Seau is set for today and that the results will be made public.
Seau will be remembered as one of the greatest players in NFL history at any position, a 6-foot-3, 248-pound wrecking ball who made the Pro Bowl 12 years in a row and was voted All-Pro 10 times. He often veered from the script on the field, and that only made him more effective.
Christian Fauria, a longtime NFL tight end, said opposing offenses frequently could not rely on scouting reports when it came to lining up against Seau.
“Most of the time he would just kind of go where he thought the ball was going,” Fauria said. “He would disregard every bit of coverage rules and gap assignments. He would just go to where he thought the play was going, based on what he looked at, what he saw.”
The death prompted an outpouring of tributes from friends and family.
"Junior was my friend. We all lost a friend today," Chargers President Dean Spanos said in a statement. "Junior was an icon in our community. He transcended the game. He wasn't just a football player, he was so much more.... This is just such a tragic loss. One of the worst things I could ever imagine."
"I can tell you no one had more character and true leadership ability than Junior," Chargers Coach Norv Turner added. "He brought passion to the game of football that was unmatched. His commitment to charitable causes in the community was inspiring. It was an honor to know him."
--Tony Perry and Sam Farmer