Junior Seau's death has hit NFL fans hard, but holds a significant meaning for one of his teams, the San Diego Chargers. Seau's death is the eighth from the 1994 Super Bowl champion team, and has led to an outpouring of grief from the Chargers.
Seau was found dead of a gunshot wound to the chest yesterday, and officials are ruling the death a suicide. The news came as a shock to fans, teammates and anyone familiar with Seau. Yet his death holds a particular place to those who know the San Diego Chargers.
His death is the eighth in 18 years, which has left Chargers fans stunned. Even more tragic is that all eight players died under the age of 45. In 1995, linebacker David Griggs died in a car accident, and the following year running back Rodney Culver and his wife were killed in a jet crash.
The next death occurred two years later, with linebacker Doug Miller being struck by lightning; 10 years later, in 2008, the Chargers lost two teammates. Curtis Whitley died from a drug overdose, while Chris Mims died from an enlarged heart. In 2011, another two players, Lew Bush and Shawn Lee, both died from heart attacks.
Then yesterday Seau passed away.
"Is this a curse or something?" Chargers center Courtney Hall asked the Washington Post in 2008. "I just hope I'm not next."
"I'm still kind of processing everything right now," Hall told Yahoo yesterday. "I had more to say back [in 2008] than I do now. I really am at a loss for words. "The thing I related to everybody is that we are a brotherhood of those of us who played football. We developed bonds and dealt with the same issues and the same ups and downs."
The Chargers released an official statement in the wake of Seau's death.
"Everyone at the Chargers is in complete shock and disbelief right now. We ask everyone to stop what they're doing and send their prayers to Junior and his family."