San Diego Chargers linebacker Junior Seau elected to Pro Football Hall of Fame

February 1, 2015

Beloved former USC star and San Diego Chargers Pro Bowl linebacker Junior Seau was elected for induction into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in his first year of eligibility. Seau tragically passed away in 2012.

Seau, an extremely passionate and athletic linebacker and one of the greatest defensive players of his generation, was joined in the 2015 Hall of Fame class by running back Jerome Bettis, former Raiders wideout Tim Brown, defensive end Charles Haley, guard Will Shields, center Mick Tinglehoff, and former NFL executives Ron Wolf and Bill Polian. The class of ’15 will be inducted this summer at the Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio.

“From the day we drafted Junior, we knew he was special,” Chargers Chairman of the Board-President Dean Spanos said. “He was such an energized, charismatic person. He attacked life the same way he attacked ball carriers. It’s that passion that turned him into the Hall of Fame player he is. His athletic ability was clear, but it’s his passion and energy that separated him from the rest of the league. It’s that same passion for life that made him an icon in San Diego.”

Few players in sports have influenced a franchise the way Seau impacted the Chargers.  Only the third player in team history to have his number retired, Seau was inducted into the team’s Hall of Fame in 2011.

“I don’t think there was any doubt that he deserved to be a first ballot Hall of Famer," said Saints quarterback Drew Brees.  "Arguably one of the greatest linebackers to ever play the game, I feel blessed I was able to play with him for two years in San Diego in 2001 and 2002.  He was an unbelievable teammate, an unbelievable leader in the locker room, and I just feel very fortunate. I learned so much watching the way he worked and approached practice.  Every practice was a game.  He was so intense and played the game with such passion, which is the way it should be played.”

A key member of San Diego’s defense for 13 years after being selected with the fifth overall pick in the 1990 draft, number 55 played in 200 games for the Bolts, notching 1,396 tackles, 45.5 sacks and 14 interceptions.

Seau was voted to a team-record 12 consecutive Pro Bowls from 1991-2002, and was named to the All-Decade Team of the 1990’s by the Pro Football Hall of Fame. He was a first-team All-Pro pick six times (1992-94, 1996, 1998, 2000) and a two-time second-team selection (1995, 1999). He was named the Chargers’ Most Valuable Player a team-record six times (1993, 1997-2001) and the Defensive Player of the Year twice (1998-99).

"There was no weakness to his game," said former Chargers coach Bobby Ross.  "He had great strength, great speed, great vision and great toughness.  There were no ingredients missing.  He was the ultimate team player as well, and I think that is sometimes overlooked by players.  But not by Junior; he was the ultimate team player.  He was also a great practice player, which is important.  So this is richly deserved, and I’m very happy that he’s getting it.  He’s one of my all-time favorites because he played the game with such emotion, effort, passion and joy."

Following 13 seasons in San Diego, Seau continued his NFL career with the Miami Dolphins (2003-05) and New England Patriots (2006-09). For his career, he notched 56.5 sacks, 18 interceptions, and recorded 10 or more tackles in a game 64 times.

“We always said it was great to have Junior on our team because it would be horrible to play against him," said former teammate Darren Bennett.  "I remember one of his famous pregame speeches, he said, ‘If you want to see how football is played, watch 55 today.’  He went out there and just obliterated the 49ers after that speech.  He is one of the most inspirational people you’ll ever played football with, but so much more than a football player."

Seau’s Career Highlights

•          Voted to team-record 12 consecutive Pro Bowls (1991-02 seasons).
•          First-team All-Pro selection eight times.
•          Named the NFL Alumni Association’s Linebacker of the Year in 2000.
•          In 2000, named to the Chargers 40th Anniversary Team.
•          Named to the All-Decade Team of the 1990s by the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
•          Selected the Chargers MVP five straight seasons (1997-2001).
•          Voted the Chargers Defensive Player of the Year twice (1998-99).
•          Voted by his teammates as the Chargers Most Inspirational Player in 1997.
•          Voted first-team All-Pro by Associated Press six times (1992-94, 96, 98, 00).
•          First-team All-Pro pick by Pro Football Weekly on four occasions (1992, 1994-95, 1998).
•          First-team All-Pro by the Pro Football Writers of America four times (1992-95).
•          First-team All-Pro selection by USA Today in 1996.
•          Recorded 10 or more tackles in a game 64 times.
•          Led team in tackles in 89 of his 230 career regular season games.
•          Led the Chargers in tackles in eight of his 13 seasons in San Diego.
•          Averaged 116 tackles a season and more than seven tackles a game over his San Diego career.
•          Is tied for second on San Diego's all-time list for games played with 200.
•          Registered 56.5 sacks during his 20 seasons.
•          Selected by the San Diego Chargers with the fifth overall pick in the 1990 NFL Draft. He played in the NFL longer than any other first-round choice that year.

By Staff of and news services

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