Keepin’ it classy in San Diego
Hours after Junior Seau was buried in his hometown, thousands of fans got their chance to cheer one more time for the hard-hitting, fist-pumping linebacker at the stadium where he starred for 13 seasons.
A crowd estimated at 20,000 attended a public memorial service at Qualcomm Stadium. Many wore Seau’s No. 55 jersey — in Chargers blue, Southern California cardinal and gold and Miami Dolphins aqua and orange. One of Seau’s cousins wore a jersey combing the colors of all three of his pro teams, including the New England Patriots.
Former NFL safety John Lynch led a shout-out of “Buddy!” — Seau’s greeting to friends and strangers alike.
“I love it,” Lynch said.
“He was a good and loyal friend,” said former teammate LaDainian Tomlinson, who drew some of the biggest cheers of the night as he spoke of Seau. “Notice the words I said: good and loyal.”
Chargers president Dean Spanos made official what many had known since Seau left after the 2002 season, that No. 55 will never be worn by another Chargers player.
Among those attending were Seau’s parents, his ex-wife and their children, several current and former Chargers, and former rival John Elway. Elway, who now runs Denver’s front office, was accompanied by new Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning and coach John Fox, a former assistant with San Diego.
LaDainian Tomlinson also spoke to to Junior’s grieving parents:
“Mama Seau, Papa Seau, it’s time for you to take a bow. Why? Because of everything that you instilled in Junior, and taught him and told him to go out and be happy and do happy, he did that. He instilled in everybody he touched, the things you taught him. So don’t be sad today, be happy because Junior lives through us every day in everything he’s touched.”
Then, reciting the names of Seau’s children, who were seated in the front row, Tomlinson said: “Go make your father proud. He’ll live through you. Thank you, Junior.”
We still can’t believe Junior is gone, pretty damn sad. R.I.P.
Image via AP