Sadly, Junior Seau is reported dead. All the facts aren’t in, but it seems that a 43 year old millionaire may have decided that life wasn’t worth living anymore. Seau is suggested to have ended his life like former Bears safety Dave Duerson did about 14 months ago, and I’m willing to bet for the same reason.
Duerson shot himself in the chest, as opposed to the head, because he wanted to have his brain studied. He knew that banging skulls in the NFL for 160 games over 11 years did serious damage. Seau played in 268 games over 20 seasons. Seau was a much better player for a lot longer than Duerson was. He was a ball hawking lunatic linebacker who didn’t tackle as much as he destroyed, and it seems to have taken its toll. He’s headed to the Hall of Fame on the first ballot, and there was never going to be a lot of debate among the voters, but was it worth it?
I can’t imagine that it was. These guys aren’t dying warriors’ deaths. They’re spending the last years of their extremely short lives in pain and misery – mental and physical, both. I remember Ronnie Lott cutting part of his finger off to stay in the game, Emmitt Smith playing with a separated shoulder (and Dwayne Wade crying on the bench with the same injury), Mark Schlereth giving zero f**ks about his 23 knee surgeries, and countless other players trying to trick their coaches into giving them their helmets back after they were clearly KTFO. How bad must it be for these guys – Seau, Duerson, Andre Waters – to decide that they can’t take it anymore?
Ray Lewis is about to start his 17th NFL season. He’s a world champion and the best middle linebacker to ever play. That’s carved in stone. It doesn’t matter if the Ravens win the Super Bowl or miss the playoffs, RayRay is RayRay. I don’t know him, but I’d be surprised if he sees any of himself in Junior Seau. I’d be willing to bet that he’s genuinely sad for Seau and Seau’s family, but doesn’t believe for an instant that it could happen to him. That’s Junior, and who knows what was going on in his life.
For me, Ray Lewis was my first thought when I read that Seau had shot himself in the chest, and it was the first time that I wanted a great athlete – other than a fighter - to call it quits, even though he has something left. I’m starting to worry about Maurice Jones-Drew and his refusal to avoid contact.
Junior Seau’s apparent suicide has made me think that, going forward, any non-kicker who plays more than 10 years in the league is an idiot. Junior Seau was a nine time Pro Bowler and six time All-Pro selection after his 10th season. He was a Hall of Famer then. The extra two Pro Bowls he made during the last nine years of his career didn’t do anything for him, except maybe ruin his life. I hope we learn something from his death.