Barnaby Monk 1 p.m., April 23
You never know what’s truly going on inside your spouse’s head. Or your kid’s head. Or anyone else’s head for that much. We’ll never know why Junior Seau took his life and there’s no reason why we should. I assume he must have endured all the suffering he could take. That’s it.
I didn’t know him, but I was a fan. I loved his warrior spirit. I loved the way he played football. Follows is what I wrote about him while he was alive.
You have to wonder what Junior Seau thinks about as square head hits round pillow and day is officially closed. Does he count his investments? Does he curse the moment he signed a contract extension? Does his life's work, the one thing he does better than any other human, seem irrelevant?
Seau has made seven consecutive trips to the Pro Bowl. If the man played in New York, L.A., Chicago, Dallas, San Francisco, or Green Bay he'd be a national sports idol entitled to a lifetime of juicy perks. Instead, he's the star defensive player on a dependably boring team.
This is hard to believe, but San Diego has the best total defense in the NFL and Seau is most of the reason why I can make that statement. It must kill him to see game after game thrown away by an offense ranked 28th in the league.
San Diego is ugly, painful to watch, in fact, has an offense that brings to mind a herd of fat milk cows. Therefore, let us adjust our viewing pleasure. Let us practice the art of paradox. Let us chant, "Our defense is our offense."
Mr. Seau lives in the clouds with Joe Montana, Walter Payton, Lawrence Taylor and Jerry Rice. He's that good. He can, by his own performance and leadership, beat average teams. Watching him work is like watching someone lift weights with one hand. The Chargers have no known offense, therefore, it's up to Seau to defeat opponents. But, even number 55 can't overcome very good teams with only one half of his own team to work with. That sad fact must drive him nuts.
San Diego played well at the end, winning four out of five. They’re as good as any other club in the AFC West, which means, they are, on a very clear day, a mediocre squad. San Diego’s defense is the only thing about the team that makes you care. But, 8-8 is the best San Diego could expect. Defenses are supposed to put you in the position to win, not actually win the games. Junior Seau should not be called on to win more than eight games in the course of one season.
The second happiest man in the NFL must be Junior Seau. There were years when he was the only player worth watching on the Chargers roster (the forgoing is an exaggeration, but not by much). Seau has intelligence, Hall of Fame athleticism, and the heart of a Samurai. He played for the Chargers 13 years, voted into 12 consecutive Pro Bowls. Junior made it to the Super Bowl one time, in 1995 (San Diego was thrashed by San Francisco 49-26). He’s a great, great player.
And a local boy, born in San Diego, attended Oceanside High School, college at USC. Seau is a gentleman off the field, keeps his private life private, and his public life without controversy. He still lives in San Diego county, owns a restaurant in Mission Valley, oversees his charitable foundation and more.
The Chargers, thinking he was done, traded him to the Miami Dolphins for chump change in 2003. Seemed like they were right, Seau never saw a December in three years playing for Miami. He was always on injured reserve by Thanksgiving.
He signed, as a free agent, with New England in August 2006, and sure enough, was on injured reserve before November closed. That makes four years in a row.
New England’s Belichick is a pig and also a great football coach. He saw something and signed Seau for 2007. And here we are ten days from Super Bowl XLII. It does feel like the gods are determined to do justice this time and allow Seau his Super Bowl ring.
If I could help I would.
The Box offers heartfelt condolences to Mr. Seau’s family, friends, and fans.