What a day in the National Football League.
One of its biggest stars becomes the eighth member of the 1994 San Diego Chargers Super Bowl team to die. Junior Seau, who spent 13 seasons with the Chargers, died in what is being called a suicide gunshot wound to the chest. The shooting is much like that of Dave Duerson who also committed suicide.
Also on this momentous day, National Football League commissioner Roger Goodell announced the suspension of four New Orleans Saints players for their role in bountygate. While linebacker Jonathan Vilma was suspended for the 2012 season, the Packers newest defensive lineman, Anthony Hargrove, was suspended for eight games next season for his role when he was a member of the Saints.
While the Saints’ players punishments are big news around the league, it pales in comparison to the loss of Seau.
For years, his energy, power and personality was the face of the San Diego Chargers, something he later took to the New England Patriots.
Up until this week, those closest to him didn’t see any signs that Seau was emotionally distraught and no indications that he would be ending his life.
The 43-year-old, if indeed his situation was so dire, could be added to the list of many players who have suffered from the loss of the game … but more importantly from the rigors of the game that may have led to this day.
There are no indications that Seau was depressed or suffered from any symptoms of head injury … though the way he died was eerily similar to Duerson’s death. The former Bears player shot himself in the chest so that his brain could be used for research into head injuries.
Seau left no suicide notes and was found by his girlfriend.
But in the end, the suspensions of the Saints players for their role in the bounties look pretty weak when compared to Seau.
Life in the NFL will continue on beyond today.
Unfortunately, we can’t say that about Junior Seau. He will be missed.