Junior Seau San Diego Chargers & Miami Dolphins & New England Patriots
Junior Seau began his pro career in 1990 after being selected as the fifth player overall in that year’s draft by the San Diego Chargers. Over the next 20 seasons, he exemplified perseverance, leadership, and a level of excellence that made him one of the finest linebackers to have ever played in the National Football League.
Seau started 15 games in his rookie campaign and finished as the team’s second-leading tackler. The following season, he earned league-wide acclaim when he was named All-Pro for the first of six straight seasons. Seau was named All-Pro two more times (1998 and 2000). An intense competitor and team leader, Seau was also voted to 12 Pro Bowls.
In 1994, he led the Chargers to their first and only Super Bowl appearance. He played an integral role San Diego’s success that season as the team finished 11-5 and won the AFC Western Division. He recorded 155 tackles, 5.5 sacks, 3 fumble recoveries, forced a fumble and had three passes defensed to pace the Chargers that season. Seau registered 10 or more tackles in a game 10 times that year (eight in the regular season and two in postseason). In the playoffs, Seau led the Chargers as they knocked off the Miami Dolphins in the division playoffs before defeating the Pittsburgh Steelers, 17-13, in the AFC championship to earn a trip to Super Bowl XXIX. Seau recorded 12 tackles, four assists and one pass defensed in the conference championship win. Then, despite falling to the 49ers in the Super Bowl, Seau had a strong showing and finished with 9 solo tackles, 2 assisted tackles and sacked Steve Young once for a loss of four yards. Later in his career, Seau played in the 2007 AFC championship game and Super Bowl XLII while a member of the New England Patriots.
In all, Seau played 268 career games with the Chargers (1990-2002), Miami Dolphins (2004-05), and Patriots (2007-09). He recorded 10 or more tackles in a regular season game 64 times amassed 56.5 career sacks and intercepted 18 passes which he returned for 238 yards. He also recovered a fumble for a touchdown and had two pass receptions during his career. Seau led the Chargers in sacks twice (1996 and 1997) and was the club’s top tackler eight times.
He was named the NFL Defensive Player of the Year in 1992 by UPI and Football Digest and was the Chargers Most Valuable Player six times.
Seau was also named to the NFL’s All-Decade Team of the 1990s.