San Diego Chargers to Retire Junior Seau's Number 55 Before Sunday's Home Opener

Jay BrownContributor ISeptember 16, 2012

September 16, 2012; San Diego, CA, USA; The San Diego Chargers retired the number 55 worn by Junior Seau is displayed prior to the start of the game against the Tennessee Titans at Qualcomm Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Christopher Hanewinckel-US PRESSWIRE

If you have ever been to Qualcomm Stadium and looked up into the rafters, not only will you see a banner for every team in the NFL, but you will notice two banners apart from the rest.

Those banners represent the retired numbers of two San Diego Chargers' greats, Hall of Fame wide receiver Lance Alworth and Hall of Fame quarterback Dan Fouts.

Sunday, as the San Diego Chargers open their 2012 season at home, the team will add another banner to the rafters.

The number 55.

Unless you have been in a cave for the last two decades, you would know that the number belonged to one of the most prolific and charismatic players of all time, Junior Seau.

Seau was known for his ferocious style of play and his leadership on and off the field.

While Seau did spend time with the Miami Dolphins and New England Patriots, the majority of his Hall of Fame career was spent with the Chargers.

He was a local product, having grown up north of San Diego in the beach community of Oceanside. Seau attended Oceanside High School and was a three-sport star. He lettered in football, basketball and track and field.

Seau attended the University of Southern California, and after three seasons, he decided to leave school to enter the NFL. He would be selected by the Chargers with the fifth overall pick in the 1990 NFL draft.

With his enthusiastic and intense play-making abilities, he would become the face of the Chargers franchise and a San Diego sports icon that would place him in the same company as Hall of Fame baseball player Tony Gwynn.

In his 13 seasons with the San Diego Chargers, Seau would be selected to 12 consecutive Pro Bowl appearances.

He would end his tenure as a Charger with 1,158 tackles, 47 sacks (sixth all-time with the Chargers) and 15 interceptions.

Seau was selected to the Chargers' 40th and 50th anniversary teams and is a member of the Chargers Hall of Fame.

After his untimely death of a self-inflicted gun shot wound to the chest, a public memorial was held at Qualcomm Stadium. Chargers coaches and players from past and present spoke about the teammate and friend he was.

At the memorial service, Chargers chairman of the board and president Dean Spanos announced that Seau's number would be retired.

The Chargers encouraged all fans attending today's home opener to wear white, and the team would be wearing their white jerseys with white pants.

Seau will be eligible for election to the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2015.