Junior Seau, a former National Football League linebacker who was voted an All-Pro six times in his 20-year career, has died. He was 43.
“Everyone at the Chargers is in complete shock and disbelief right now,” the San Diego Chargers, with whom Seau spent 13 seasons, said in a statement.
The San Diego Union-Tribune said police found Seau dead of a gunshot wound after being called to his beachfront home in Oceanside, California, after a 911 call reported a shooting.
Seau retired from the NFL after the 2009 season, when he played in seven games for the New England Patriots. He was with the Chargers from 1990 through 2002 and was chosen the league’s defensive player of the year in 1992.
Seau, who was 6-foot-4 and 250 pounds during his playing career, made 12 Pro Bowls and totaled 56 1/2 sacks. After leaving the Chargers in 2002, he played three seasons with the Miami Dolphins and then his final four with the Patriots. He was a captain on the 2007 Patriots team that went 18-0 before losing to the New York Giants in the Super Bowl.
Seau was selected by the Chargers with the fifth overall pick in the 1990 NFL draft out of the University of Southern California. He was named to the Pro Football Hall of Fame’s All- Decade Team of the 1990s.
Seau is the eighth member of the Chargers’ 1994 Super Bowl team to die. The most recent had been Lew Bush, who died of a heart attack in December.
Super Bowl Team
Other members of the 1994 Super Bowl team who have died are running back Rodney Culver, linebackers Dave Griggs and Doug Miller, defensive tackle Shawn Lee, defensive end Chris Mims and center Curtis Whitley. Griggs died in a 1995 car crash, Culver was killed in a 1996 plane crash, Miller was struck by lightning in 1998, Whitley overdosed in 2008, Mims died of an enlarged heart the same year and Lee suffered cardiac arrest in March 2011.
Seau in October 2010 was hospitalized with minor injuries when his Cadillac sports utility vehicle veered off a cliff in Carlsbad, California, hours after he was arrested for domestic abuse. Seau, who was conscious and behind the wheel when his car was found about 100 feet below the road, told investigators he didn’t try to kill himself and drove off the cliff because he fell asleep.
Seau had been arrested about eight hours earlier in Oceanside, the town adjacent to Carlsbad on the California coast about 37 miles (60 kilometers) north of San Diego. Oceanside police said they went to Seau’s apartment following a call from his 25-year-old live-in girlfriend alleging that Seau assaulted her during a verbal argument. Seau was released after posting bail, police said at the time.
Lieutenant Leonard Mata, public information officer for the Oceanside Police Department, didn’t immediately return a message left at his office or on his mobile phone today.
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