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Former Dolphins LB Junior Seau Found Dead At 43

Posted May 2, 2012

Former Miami Dolphins linebacker Junior Seau was found dead at his Oceanside, California home this morning reportedly from a gunshot wound.

Seau, 43, played 20 seasons in the NFL and was selected to 12 consecutive Pro Bowls, all with the San Diego Chargers, where he played from 1990-2002. He spent the next three seasons (2003-05) in Miami playing alongside Zach Thomas and Jason Taylor on the Dolphins’ dominant defenses of that time. Seau played his last four seasons (2006-09) in New England with the Patriots.

During those three seasons in Miami, Seau started 28 of the 30 games he played in and racked up 115 tackles (74 solo) and five sacks. Off the field he was immediately embraced in the South Florida community. Seau inspired the Fins and Kids Publix Shopping Spree held every Thanksgiving at the Las Olas Publix in Fort Lauderdale.

Seau had started Shop With A Jock back in San Diego and when Seau left the Dolphins he gave Bill Fauerbach, Vice President of Retail Operations For Publix Supermarkets, and Publix his blessing to continue the event.

“We are stunned and saddened at the passing of Junior Seau,” said Dolphins CEO Mike Dee in a statement. “During his time with the Dolphins he made a unique contribution to the team and the South Florida community. Junior was a fierce competitor whose passion and work ethic lifted his teammates to greater heights. His enthusiasm for the game was infectious and he passed that on to everyone who was around him. He loved the game so much, and no one played with more sheer joy.

“Beyond his accomplishments on the field, though, he was as well known for his charitable accomplishments to help those less fortunate than himself, especially kids. Whether it was in San Diego, South Florida, New England or everywhere else in between, Junior loved putting a smile on a child’s face during his “Shop with a Jock” program or during one of his countless school visits. He made a difference to so many people in so many places.

“Junior was one-of-a-kind. The league will never see anyone like him again. He will be missed, and on behalf of the Miami Dolphins we want to extend our condolences to his family.”

Seau finished his career with 1,524 tackles (1,199 solo), 56.5 sacks, 18 interceptions, 11 forced fumbles, 18 fumble recoveries and one touchdown and his 12 Pro Bowl appearances are tied with Ray Lewis for the most ever among NFL linebackers. He will be eligible for induction into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2015.

REMEMBERING JUNIOR SEAU

"I have never been around a man with more love and passion for the game of football than Junior Seau, and he lived life the same way.  Junior was always fun to be around, always positive and made every person who knew him feel like he was their best friend.  You never heard one negative word come out of his mouth.  Junior just had this energy that followed him around wherever he went, almost like theme music.  It was like he never had a bad day.

"As a young linebacker, Junior was my hero growing up and once I had the opportunity meet him I saw that he was everything I hoped he would be and more.  Getting the chance to play along side of Junior Seau, the greatest linebacker to ever play the game, made my dreams come true.  I am absolutely devastated to hear this news.  Today I lost my hero, my friend, my buddy." -- Former Dolphins Linebacker Zach Thomas

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"I'm shocked and saddened.  Devastated, really.  Junior was one of the most positive, uplifting people I have ever known.  He was always full of life and energy and had an infectious spirit that lifted everyone around him.  Junior called everyone "buddy" and treated them like he had known them forever.  It would be easy for me to say he was a great friend and teammate, and a tremendous competitor, but that would be selling Junior short.  Junior Seau was an individual of great honor and integrity, a leader of men and someone with a deep rooted passion for giving of himself to make the people, the community and especially the children around him better.  This is an  immeasurable loss for so many.  My heart and prayers go out to Junior's family, Gina and their children.  I'm going to miss you buddy." -- Former Dolphins Defensive End Jason Taylor

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“Hearing this news about Junior...it’s just so tragic…it’s hard to believe. I still to this day remember the day that Junior joined our family at the Dolphins. He brought a sense of renewed energy and a spirit to the field, off the field, in the weight room, just everywhere that Junior went and everyone that Junior was associated with. He instilled a belief that we hadn’t reached our potential and that we could be better and he would find a way to help make that happen. I just feel terrible but I know how much he loved his kids. I remember him coming to me and the first thing we talked about was what the offseason schedule would be and what was going to be our bye week schedule. Everything he was doing was centered around getting back to San Diego from Miami to be able to spend quality time with his kids. I don’t think there’s a better way a man could be remembered than in those terms.” -- Former Dolphins Head Coach Wannstedt, who was the Miami Dolphins Head Coach from 2000-2004 when Seau was traded to the Dolphins after the 2002 season

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"To hear this sad news was so shocking. I was close to several members of Junior’s family that were my peers and I was also able to spend time with him on several occasions living in San Diego. Junior was a great player on the field and even better person off it. We went to the same high school and although we didn’t play at the same time, I knew that he was a fellow Oceanside High alumnus that was proud to wear the green and black. This is really unfortunate news and my thoughts and prayers go out to his family during this tough time.” -- Miami Dolphins Wide Receiver and Oceanside High School (San Diego, CA) Roberto Wallace
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