There were two crazy sports stories yesterday, first was Sarah J. Phillips and second the unbelievable story of Junior Seau’s suicide. There is no other post I could possibly write today. I have to blog about Seau’s career and life. He entire career was in what I call my wheel house of sports knowledge.
When I saw the news break on TMZ, there were many emotions that ran through me. First there was shock, then sadness, then anger, and finally acceptance. The shock comes from not expecting to see something like that in print. He was one of the NFL’s most charismatic guys, both on and off the field. He led what could only be described as an exemplary. I can;t remember an off field issue that involved him during his career and really the only thing I can think of that even somewhat tarnished his image was the domestic abuse story in 2010.
As your read more about his past and how he tried to kill himself by driving off a cliff, you come to the conclusion that no one saw this coming. Immediately after the shock wore off I began to put his career in perspective. He was what the experts would call a prototypical linebacker. However he was more than that, he was the Peyton Manning of inside linebackers. He re-invented the position such that it was considered the quarterback of defense. Before Seau, the importance of the position was never there, since him though it has become one of the most important positions on defense.
The anger came after allowing the story to settle in. To know he had inner demons that no one saw. Although it’s too early to blame this on the violent hits the cranium takes play after play, year after year, the evidence is there. We are seeing story after story of young men who have had their lives cut short because of brain issues stemming from the violent nature of games. Whether it’s degenerative memory loss or it’s on a level of psychiatric problems, something needs to be done to protect the player more.
No one in his family or friends saw this coming. He had the friends and family for support as you can see from all the emotions pouring out from acquaintances to ex-coaches and teammates. Yet in the end he chose to take a permanent solution to a temporary problem. This is one of those stories that you will remember where you were and what you were doing when you heard the news. You’ll think back on that day in two years when he is enshrined in the Hall of Fame. Most of all though, you think of this day when you see him in your cards.
So today when you are racing through your life, take a moment and reflect on the career of a tortured man. A man who at one point was atop the mountain that is the NFL and whose life seemed to crumble away once he left the game he loved so much.