Monday, June 13, 2011

Player Spotlight (Edition 2): Junior Seau, Chargers/Dolphins/Patriots

It's been nearly a month since the start of my new feature "Player Spotlight," so I figured I would try to keep my word and continue with the series. Edition No. 2 focuses on the defensive side of the ball.

Edition 1 featured former Denver Broncos' wideout Rod Smith, who put up Hall of Fame-caliber numbers, but likely wont get a call from Canton anytime soon. Very under-appreciated player throughout his career, though.

At the linebacking position, I chose to write about the former San Diego Chargers/Miami Dolphins/New England Patriots leader Junior Seau....also known as "say-ow," for his hard hits over the middle of the field.

Seau, recently retired from the game after four sub-par seasons in New England, played his college ball at USC. After his junior season, Seau entered the NFL draft and was selected by the Chargers with the fifth overall pick.
His mark was left on San Diego almost immediately, recording 85 solo tackles and a sack in 15 games during his rookie season. He made the Pro Bowl his second year (129 solo tackles, 7 sacks as inside linebacker), and went on to appear in 11 more Pro Bowls in 20 professional seasons.

Going in to college, Seau was not seen as one of the sharpest pencils in the pack, but at the pro level he gained the reputation as a smart football player, and was always working hard.

Seau made it to the Super Bowl with San Diego in 1994, though they lost to Steve Young's 49ers (who, by the way, tore up San Diego's defense with a Super Bowl record six touchdown passes). Seau never did capture the coveted Lombardi trophy, but his 1,288 tackles, 47 sacks and 15 INT in 13 seasons with the Chargers has made him a legend in San Diego.

Junior never did make it back the Pro Bowl once he had left San Diego (three seasons with Miami, four with New England), but his hard-hitting rep remained with him throughout the rest of his career.

I am not, in any way, a Chargers fan. But boy did I love seeing Seau run from sideline-to-sideline every Sunday. He knew how to play the game, and did it well. One of the best linebackers in the '90s, for sure.

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