FanDuel - WFBC

May 02, 2012

Junior Seau Found Dead at Home: Former San Diego Chargers linebacker Junior Seau was found dead at his Oceanside, Calif., home in an apparent shooting. He was 43. Seau was a 12-time Pro Bowler who also played with the Miami Dolphins and New England Patriots after 13 years with the Chargers. He was the fifth overall pick in the 1990 NFL Draft.

posted by phaedon to football at 02:24 PM - 65 comments

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Gutted. Absolutely gutted.

posted by Etrigan at 02:38 PM on May 02

Me too. I loved watching him play football in his prime for the Chargers. He was surely a certain Hall of Famer when the waiting period was up.

posted by rcade at 02:42 PM on May 02

Another victim of CTE?

I loved to watch him play when he was a San Diego Charger. R.I.P. #55.

/always a Charger to me.

posted by steelergirl at 02:52 PM on May 02

Thanks rcade. I hate to jump the gun here but if this had anything to do with football, I'm okay with them shutting down the sport. I'm not trying to condemn anybody.

posted by phaedon at 02:55 PM on May 02

Very sad. I believe he was suspected of trying to hurt himself on another occasion by driving a car off a cliff or something. Great player and just very sad.

posted by Atheist at 02:56 PM on May 02

Another victim of CTE?

Interesting— he always seemed like a happy-go-lucky guy when he was with the Chargers (and I didn't follow him too closely) but a much more haunted person with New England. I assumed we just hadn't gotten "the real story" back when he was an All-Pro in San Diego, but that would explain it as well.

posted by yerfatma at 03:11 PM on May 02

God bless, Junior.....

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posted by NerfballPro at 03:16 PM on May 02

Holy crap. That's terrible news.

posted by Mr Bismarck at 03:17 PM on May 02

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You know how sometimes you are a fan of one team, and there is a player on another team who always seems to play well against your team, but you can't help but like him a little bit, and you hope that somehow he might end up on your team, but you know the odds of that are extremely low, given the intricacies of player transactions in major sports. Well, the Patriots are my team, and Junior was that player for me. I know he didn't exactly return to the performances of his prime when he signed with the Pats, but I always got a little extra pleasure when he would make a nice play.

I'm kind of with phaedon here. Wrap up this whole football thing now, or maybe try to play it without pads and with more frequent ejections for dangerous play, or something. This is too much.

posted by Rock Steady at 03:23 PM on May 02

570AM (Fox) and 710AM (ESPN) are the local affiliates in Los Angeles if you want hear the SoCal take via TuneIn. Marcellus Wiley is a former Charger and there are a lot of USC graduates with shows.

posted by phaedon at 03:30 PM on May 02

Fred Taylor, who only played with Seau for a couple of years, thinks it's a CTE thing. I suppose that would explain the shot to the chest. Jesus. Did I read this comment on deadspin correctly? 8 players from the '94 Chargers are dead? On edit, it's not quite as bad as it sounds, but it's not good.

posted by yerfatma at 03:38 PM on May 02

I was just taking a guess when I said CTE, ma. But given the level at which he played when he was with San Diego, I would not be suprised if CTE wasn't a contributing factor, at least.

A shame any way you look at it.

posted by steelergirl at 03:42 PM on May 02

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Damn! I was hoping after a couple of years off he'd go back to SC to work with the linebackers.

posted by billsaysthis at 03:43 PM on May 02

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CTE or not, his antics in the last few years of his life shouldn't take away from an astounding career. Sad.

posted by tahoemoj at 03:47 PM on May 02

Members of 1994 Chargers team who have since died:

David Griggs, 1995, single-car accident
Rodney Culver, 1996, commercial airplane crash
Doug Miller, 1998, lightning strike
Chris Mims, 2008, enlarged heart
Curtis Whitley, 2008, found dead in trailer home (history of drug use)
Shawn Lee, 2011, cardiac arrest from double pneumonia (diabetes)
Lewis Bush, 2011, heart attack
Junior Seau, 2012, suicide

(On edit, I see that yerfatma already linked to a previous story.)

posted by Etrigan at 03:58 PM on May 02

From yerfatma's link:

In 1998, LB Doug Miller was struck by lightning while camping in Colorado. CPR was being performed on Miller when he was struck again by a second bolt.

When it's your time to go, it's your time to go.

posted by grum@work at 04:08 PM on May 02

My first thought was a connection with the effects of repetitive brain injury - in other words, CTE. My second thought was that someone should have seen this coming. Seau drove his SUV off a cliff, but then the story was that he had fallen asleep. I wondered about it then, and now I think that we might not have heard the whole story. Regardless of causes, prior histories, or anything else it's just a damn shame.

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posted by Howard_T at 04:51 PM on May 02

Seau killing himself with a shot to the chest sounds like another Dave Duerson situation, where he was trying to preserve his brain for medical study.

posted by rcade at 05:02 PM on May 02

My second thought was that someone should have seen this coming.

Sounds from the radio reports I'm hearing that Seau had been approached by teammates, but he denied any problem. He was the kind of guy who was always there for everyone else, but wouldn't let anyone else be there for him.

posted by phaedon at 05:05 PM on May 02

Other media are claiming it was a shot to the head.

posted by rcade at 05:09 PM on May 02

Bunch of nice (?) stories from Patriots' beat writers. Here's one of the better ones about Seau's presence.

posted by yerfatma at 05:38 PM on May 02

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posted by yzelda4045 at 06:16 PM on May 02

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posted by Ying Yang Mafia at 06:51 PM on May 02

Interesting he always seemed like a happy-go-lucky guy when he was with the Chargers (and I didn't follow him too closely) but a much more haunted person with New England. I assumed we just hadn't gotten "the real story" back when he was an All-Pro in San Diego, but that would explain it as well.

I'm a native San Diegan, and I was in high school and college for much of Seau's tenure with Chargers, but I honestly don't remember seeing or hearing a single negative thing about him the whole time he was here, or even after he left/we let him go. The qualification to that is that I also never heard anything bad about LaDanian Tomlinson his whole time here, and reporters generally called him a class act; but once he was gone all these stories came out of the woodwork about how the guys in the locker room were so much happier now that he was gone. So, since the big SD media outlets basically make their money as mouthpieces of the Chargers (we've only had one paper here since the 80s), I can't really trust them to say negative things about players when they need to be said, especially if it's a star player who's a box office draw. But, the only jersey I own has 55 on it.

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posted by LionIndex at 06:52 PM on May 02

I've watched a bit on NFL Network today. So much about how good he was within the community wherever he was. Today's young players should take a lesson.

posted by jjzucal at 07:09 PM on May 02

I learned about this from NPR (of all places) and stood at work kind of stunned for a little bit. Shocking and disheartening. Damn shame.

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posted by Ufez Jones at 08:24 PM on May 02

He was/is one of my favorite players when I was growing up because I remember reading an article about him in SI when I was 14 or 15 - dear god he looked like a superhero, could run like the wind, bench 500 pounds (my inner teenager may be exaggerating) and looked like he belonged in a comic book.

Reading about his relentless charity work, maybe he was a superhero.

The Duerson similarities are too startling. I'd like to think that his trying to preserve his brain was the last selfless act he had left.

posted by WeedyMcSmokey at 09:01 PM on May 02

I'm not going to the stories just yet. Still just sort of sitting around in the early shock.

A guy of this caliber, I would like to know if he left a statement or a message behind that we might learn from.

Too early for that right now, though.

posted by beaverboard at 09:21 PM on May 02

Seau was credited with 1,524 tackles over his career. Hard to imagine the physical toll of that, even without considering concussions and CTE.

posted by rcade at 09:24 PM on May 02

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posted by tommytrump at 10:06 PM on May 02

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posted by DudeDykstra at 10:33 PM on May 02

This is not gospel, but I was speaking with someone about 15 minutes after the first reports went up. He said his mother knew an officer out there and she had gotten a call from this person, and the shot was not to the chest.

posted by wfrazerjr at 11:21 PM on May 02

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posted by Joey Michaels at 04:02 AM on May 03

The San Diego Union-Tribune is reporting it as a shot to the chest. His mother's reaction to the assembled TV cameras is heart-wrenching.

The way people are talking about Seau is different than Duerson and Ray Easterling, the player who killed himself two weeks ago. No one is saying anything about depression or struggles with his brain. Everyone who talked to him in recent days says he was upbeat and making future plans.

Obviously he could have hidden his troubles, but it's a reason to defer judgment on the cause.

Seau played the second-most games at linebacker in NFL history. In the list of players who committed suicide in the modern era, he's by far the most prominent.

posted by rcade at 08:23 AM on May 03

LA Times is also reporting the gunshot was to the chest.

posted by scully at 08:48 AM on May 03

I will be watching closely to see what is determined, whether CTE or something of the sort played a role. If so...I'm not sure I can continue to be an NFL fan. My entertainment is not as important as someone else's life.

posted by lil_brown_bat at 11:02 AM on May 03

I'm trying to set the over/under for CTE related deaths before I'm too sickened to watch football. Whatever the number, it's too high. I'm hoping they just find a solution before I get to the line.

posted by tron7 at 02:42 PM on May 03

tron, my cut line for pro wrestling was when Chris Benoit, clearly driven insane by injuries and the brutal schedule, murdered his wife and son. Somehow, "civilian" deaths seemed more real. I realize that makes me a bad person, but there you go.

posted by Etrigan at 04:26 PM on May 03

I would like to say that suicide is one of the most selfish acts a person can do. Just ask any surviving family member. To be jumping to the conclusion that this is in some way related to football injuries is awfully premature. Many people commit suicide and depression happens to millions without suffering any head trauma. Also millions of people endure incredibly debilitating physical injuries and diseases without resorting to suicide. When someone blows a hole in themselves with a gun, it is a sign of mental illness, depression, or other factors. When the person who is affected happens to be a football player or boxer, that in and of itself is not enough to automatically assume their mental state was in some way related to their football career. That is just unfounded.

I found this on one website:
I dont know the answer to this for certain, but how many former players have killed themselves in say the last year, or maybe 2, a half dozen or so?

there are probably over 15,000 living former players (considering there are about 8,000 with vested pensions that requires a couple years play and adding in those who played say 3 years or less)

the US overall suicide rate is about 1.2%

among males it is 1.9%

so with 15K ex players times a 1.9% suicide rate, that means approx 285 players would need to commit suicide every year to match the general male population.

i know many could occur that are not as well documented as Juniors,but statistically for the rate of suicides among ex NFL players to be significantly higher (say 50%) than the general male population you would expect something on the order of 400 per year and as far as I know we are no where close to that number.

i know there is one site out there (gameover.org) that claims the nfl player suicide rate is 6 times the national average but gives no supporting data to back that claim up. In fact if you read their site they claim the rate for ACTIVE AND RETIRED players is 6 times the national average.

well 6 times the national average for males is 11.4%, considering that active and retired players combined has to be at least 15,000, that means a whopping 1710 players are taking their own lives every year or OVER 4 A DAY. that so me seems simply to be hogwash

to put this in even more perspective if 11.4% is real, there are approx 1350 active players at any given time, that means every year there would need to be 153 players offing them selves EVERY YEAR, for even them to meet the overall US avg there would need to be 16 active players every year killing themselves,,,or how about this, ther are approx 40 ex Buckeyes playing right now, at 11.4%, on average there would need to be betwen 4-5 ex Buckeyes killing them self EVERY year

seriously does that sound even remotely accurate, the site provides no links to any research of data that shows this supposed rate is true, it is just a unsubstantiated claim at this point.in fact the only substantiated studies i have seen shows that sports participation among teens leads to lower suicide rates. There are a bunch of people quoting from gameover.org site but again with nothing to substantiate or confirm that conclusion

i know this is high profile, along with a few others over the past year or so in connection with bounty gate, it just looks bad, and I am not doubting that it is at least possible that these concussion issues could lead to suicide

but until someone can show a definitive study showing increased suicides rates among NFL players, it is just a tragic story for his family to deal with and not much more

posted by Atheist at 06:40 PM on May 03

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posted by BornIcon at 06:42 PM on May 03

I would like to say that suicide is one of the most selfish acts a person can do.

Oh god, here we go.

Also millions of people endure incredibly debilitating physical injuries and diseases without resorting to suicide.

And those that do are selfish? If someone has an injury that precludes them from living a life they want to lead, or a disease, or are in a situation that puts them in immense pain, wanting to end their life is not selfish, because it's their fucking life. That others choose not to doesn't make their choices selfish (again, it's their life). In fact, it's the exact opposite. Others wanting someone in great pain to fight through it is the selfish part.

When someone blows a hole in themselves with a gun, it is a sign of mental illness, depression, or other factors.

Right. Which means, basically, they aren't seeing the world in a balanced state, they're not able to deal with reality, their mental state isn't healthy... Which means to call them selfish is a nonstarter.

This whole topic of the NFL and suicide is an interesting topic, but please take your views on the morality of suicide elsewhere. It has nothing to do with the topic.

posted by justgary at 08:09 PM on May 03

I found this on one website

What website was that? I don't think a suicide rate of 1.9 means that 1.9% of living people commit suicide every year. That is ludicrous. This list (I know it's Wikipedia, but I'm not doing further research right now), has the US men's rate at 19 in 100,000. I'm not saying that you might not be right about people jumping to draw correlations between suicide and playing in the NFL, but the math you quoted there is ridiculous.

posted by bender at 11:01 PM on May 03

Yeah, someone's math sucks. Suicide rates are calculated based on the number of people that have died and their cause of death. They are not expectations as to how many people will die in any given year.

posted by bperk at 06:43 AM on May 04

the US overall suicide rate is about 1.2%

among males it is 1.9%

Yeah, no.

2 out of 100 males are not killing themselves every year in America.

The annual mortality rate in the US is 793.8 per 100,000 people.

That's 0.7938 people out of 100.

According to the CDC, the number of suicides in 2009 was 36,909.
With a population of around 305 million people in the US in 2009, that puts the suicide rate at 0.012 people out of 100, our about 1/100th your numbers.

seriously does that sound even remotely accurate

Maybe when you realized that it didn't seem "even remotely accurate", you might have wanted to check your own numbers first before making fun of someone elses...

posted by grum@work at 09:58 AM on May 04

"You know, what the NFL's been doing for years, it's no different then big tobacco. You know there's nothing wrong with our product, it's not damaging. And they should be held criminally liable for all these deaths." -- former NFL lineman George Visger

posted by rcade at 10:53 AM on May 04

Please, I just posted a link and it was only to demonstrate a point about linking an ex players suicide to a football induced brain injury, especially since there isn't any evidence yet that Seau had a brain injury. I also thought the numbers seemed ridiculous on both sides. The copied post was on a website in response to someone's statement that the ex NFL players rate of suicide was 6 times higher than the per capita average.

As for the morality of suicide, I happen to agree with the right to die. Remember I am an Atheist, but speaking from personal experience. suicide is by nature a selfish act. I am not saying a person does not have the right to be selfish. It is their life and they should have the right to end it. It is however an act that is all about me so to speak. I want to die and end my suffering, to hell with my children, loved ones etc. Also many suicides have a vindictive aspect, as in "I'll show them, lets see how they feel when I am gone, they will regret that they treated me this way". Obviously this is not clear thinking and should be considered mental illness, but again the point is that leaping from a man's suicide to football should be abolished because he played and then committed suicide, is crazy.

justgary - you can defend a persons right to end their life with a gun. I agree but I also can defend a persons right to play football knowing that it can potentially kill them. Are we defending the same point? It has always been my contention that everything is in some way a risk reward proposition. I want to go to the beach, I take the risk of dying in my car to get there.

Every time something like this happens to an ex player. I understand the urge to blame football, and of course another 100 players will jump on the sue the NFL bandwagon. (I am not sure why every ex college and high school player is not looking to sue their former schools, probably has something to do with money). I think that most players in the league are well aware of the safety issues now surrounding the game, yet I don't see any (even those that are totally financially secure at this point) saying this game is too dangerous and I want out. Most play as long as they possibly can, because they want to and they love it.

posted by Atheist at 11:08 AM on May 04

Junior's family has given the OK to Boston University to study his brain for the possibility of CTE or other injuries that may have to this "selfish act" as Atheist kindly put it.

Without a suicide note, we'll probably never really know what led to this, regardless of what Boston U. finds.

posted by NerfballPro at 11:25 AM on May 04

I would actually bet that since suicide is generally so closely linked to depression, that a fairly large number of people that do it feel that they're doing everyone around them a favor by eliminating themselves. Obviously not clear healthy thinking, but that's a depressive mindset.

posted by LionIndex at 11:31 AM on May 04

The copied post was on a website in response to someone's statement that the ex NFL players rate of suicide was 6 times higher than the per capita average.

Which you believed because it supported your bias. You're backing off of it now because the numbers have been shown to be not just wrong, but hilariously wrong.

I would like to say that suicide is one of the most selfish acts a person can do.

Seriosly! Did he even think of what this might do to the fortunes of the NFL?

posted by tron7 at 12:46 PM on May 04

I also can defend a persons right to play football knowing that it can potentially kill them. Are we defending the same point? It has always been my contention that everything is in some way a risk reward proposition.

That is so logically knackered it almost defies disagreement.

posted by yerfatma at 12:52 PM on May 04

LionIndex I agree and since suicide is basically an act born out of depression, and since so many people are affected by depression to various degrees, it makes any conclusive correlation between football and suicide almost impossible to prove. There are so many potential causes for depression and any one or combination of factors can contribute to a persons depression. Also most professionals would also say that typically there is a trigger that pushes a clinically depressed individual to make an attempt.

Nerfball we will never really know with out the words of the deceased. Even if brain changes are detected, it will not explain what triggered this act at this time. Especially since those close to him saw no signs or changes in him. Please understand that I was not trying to be insensitive with the selfish comment, but if you do something for yourself irrespective of the damage it does to those you love, who love you and others around you, it is by definition a selfish act not a selfless act. It's tragic and heartbreaking but Seau's suffering is over, the suffering this has inflicted on his family and others is not.

Here is a good link http://www.suicide.org/suicide-statistics.html

posted by Atheist at 01:02 PM on May 04

here is a story of another players suicide

Even if signs of brain injury were present could you attribute the act of suicide to football?

posted by Atheist at 01:25 PM on May 04

it makes any conclusive correlation between football and suicide almost impossible to prove.

Please stop trying to guide this discussion. You don't understand how correlation works.

Even if signs of brain injury were present could you attribute the act of suicide to football?

So because (and I'm guessing because the link doesn't work) a former football player with gambling debts killed himself we can't ascribe other players' suicides to other causes? How is this even relevant?

posted by yerfatma at 01:52 PM on May 04

yerfatma - how is responding to what others have said guiding the discussion? I made comments in response to what others said. Maybe you should be the moderator. Others seemed quick to blame football related head injury as a factor in Seau's suicide. I am just trying to point out that the two are not necessarily related. So you can ascribe a suicide to any cause you like but all you are doing is speculating and your assumption is not based on facts.

The story of a player who killed himself over his own life problems gambling etc, is just an example of a case where friends knew the reasons behind the persons desire to kill themself. If his brain were to be taken for study and happened to show some evidence of CTE, it still wouldn't change the fact that he committed suicide over money and other personal problems.

posted by Atheist at 03:16 PM on May 04

If you can believe a suicide was caused by money and personal problems, why can't you believe that a suicide was caused by CTE suffered playing football?

posted by rcade at 03:26 PM on May 04

Roger, is that you? First it was that suicide wasn't really all that common among ex-NFL guys. Then football was dangerous but everyone has the right to take risks. Then you decided that maybe this has nothing to do with CTE at all. Just to hedge your bet you add in there that even if he had CTE there's just no way we can know that's what caused it. Just keep throwing shit at the wall and see if any of it sticks.

posted by tron7 at 03:40 PM on May 04

rcade - I can believe it and I never said I did not, nor did I ever say that it couldn't be a contributing factor. I was responding to those who seem to be jumping to the conclusion that his suicide was football related and football should be changed or stopped because some ex players have killed themselves. Jumping to the conclusion that he killed himself because he got hit in the head alot is just not substantiated at this time. I haven't seen any credible evidence that ex football players are more prone to committing suicide than anybody else within a comparable demographic.

Isn't just possible that Junior Seau was just another depressed person struggling with his personal demons and his untimely demise is only newsworthy because he happened to be a famous football player? Maybe OJ Simpson can blame repeated blows to the head for the reason he killed his ex wife. Lets ban the game and save lives.

posted by Atheist at 03:54 PM on May 04

If his brain were to be taken for study and happened to show some evidence of CTE, it still wouldn't change the fact that he committed suicide over money and other personal problems.

And if it did show CTE, there's no chance that would have led to his reckless behavior, right? Because it's not like "poor judgement" is listed as a symptom or anything. Your positions are amazingly fluid for someone happy to see every issue in black and white.

posted by yerfatma at 04:14 PM on May 04

yerfatma - I was not aware I was seeing things in black and white. I realize mental health is not an exact science. I am not one of the people looking to blame the game of football for an ex players suicide. You are making an argument with me where none exists. I am questioning the rationale of trying to attribute something like suicide to a physical cause related to football when none can be clearly established. To use your example of poor judgement, since almost every human being is probably guilty of exercising poor judgement at one time or another, it is pretty hard to blame poor judgement on ones past football injuries. While I am not saying head injury can't effect your judgement, it seems pretty difficult to blame poor judgement on fact that someone played football rather than they just had poor judgement.

posted by Atheist at 05:04 PM on May 04

I am questioning the rationale of trying to attribute something like suicide to a physical cause related to football when none can be clearly established.

Begging the question.

posted by yerfatma at 05:08 PM on May 04

HLN TV producer (and football fan): Why my son will never play football.

posted by rcade at 06:42 PM on May 04

The 911 call. :(

posted by phaedon at 07:02 PM on May 04

A judge has granted Art Schlicter's request to donate his brain for CTE study if he dies while incarcerated. A court-ordered mental examination of the 52-year-old found damage to the frontal lobes of his brain, a likely result of some 15 concussions he suffered in college and high school.

posted by rcade at 08:22 PM on May 04

Thanks for relating this story.

posted by cixelsyd at 12:18 AM on May 05

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