Historical Look at Junior Seau's Incredible Football Legacy
Junior Seau was quite simply the best defensive player of his era. There is no questioning that. We may never see someone with his natural gifts again.
His tragic passing from an apparent suicide on Wednesday deprived the world of an incredible human being and one of the best players to ever step on a football field. I've already written about the kind of person Seau was and what he meant to the city of San Diego.
From a pure football perspective, he was one of a kind.
The San Diego Chargers made Seau the No. 5 pick in the 1990 NFL Draft after a storied career at USC. From that day forward, he was the centerpiece of his hometown team. He was a terror for opposing offenses and the kind of game-changing linebacker that comes around once in a generation.
Seau was 6'3" and 250 pounds with a chiseled frame and 4.61 speed. However, more than his speed, his quickness made him special. He could burst through defenses and blow up plays in the blink of an eye. No one that I have ever seen could chase down a ball-carrier like him.
It wasn't just natural talent that made Seau special. He also worked incredibly hard to break down opponents and learn their tendencies. He would often freelance during games, working outside of his team's called defenses when he read a certain play. He had innate instincts to read and diagnose what was going on in front of him.
He made spectacular plays on a weekly basis, and it was worth watching the Chargers play just to see what Seau would do next.
From 1991 to 2002, Seau went to 12 straight Pro Bowls. He was also selected to 10 straight All-Pro teams from 1991 to 2000. He continued playing through the 2009 season, completing a 20-year career during which time his standing among teammates and opponents never waned.
He was easily one of the greatest to ever play the position, and his name belongs next to the greats like Dick Butkus, Mike Singletary and Ray Lewis. Seau was every bit a player cut from the same cloth as those guys.
When he is finally up for induction into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2015, he will certainly be elected on the first ballot.
Seau was not only one of the best to ever play the game. By all accounts, he was one of the best teammates and people to ever grace the NFL with his presence. The impact he had off the field was far more important than what he did on it.
He will be missed, but his legacy will never be tarnished. He was one of the best to ever set foot on an NFL field, and no one will ever forget the kind of player and person he was.
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