The North County Times reported on Wednesday that former Chargers, Dolphins and Patriots linebacker Junior Seau passed away after a self-inflicted gunshot to the chest. Seau was 43 years old.
There have been conflicting reports about who found Seau’s body at his Oceanside, California home. Some media outlets have stated that it was his housekeeper that discovered his body, while others have reported that it was Seau’s girlfriend who eventually found him and called authorities. A handgun was found nearby and police have confirmed that Seau committed suicide.
Seau was drafted fifth overall in 1990 by the San Diego Chargers, whom he played with for 12 years before he was traded to the Miami Dolphins in April of 2003. He later signed with the New England Patriots for three years before leaving the game following the 2009 season.
During his 20 years in the NFL, Seau racked up 1,849 tackles, 56.5 sacks and 18 interceptions. He went to 12 Pro Bowls during his career and was named All-Pro 10 times. He was a part of two AFC Championship teams (1994 Chargers and 2007 Patriots) and was named AFC Player of the Year in 1994. He’s a member of the San Diego Chargers Hall of Fame and was named NEA NFL Defensive Player of the Year in 1992.
Just over one year ago, former Chicago Bears safety Dave Duerson committed suicide in the same fashion as Seau. Three months later researcher neurologists at Boston University confirmed that Duerson suffered from a neurodegenerative disease linked to concussions.
Renowned for his hard hits and raw energy, Seau was easily one of the best outside linebackers to have ever played the game.