Tuesday, September 18, 2012
Plans were under way today to induct late San Diego Charger linebacker Junior Seau into the Hall of Champions at the Hall's next annual banquet.
The Hall of Champions' board usually waits two full years after a player's death or retirement to decide whether to induct the athlete but is making an exception for Seau, who died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the chest at his beachfront home in Oceanside on May 2.
"He's one of ours,'' interim Hall president Denise Cooper said at a news conference on Monday.
According to Cooper, it took Hall board members about a minute to decide to expedite Seau's induction. News of his early induction comes within days of the Chargers retiring Seau's No. 55 jersey before Sunday's home opener against the Tennessee Titans.
Seau, who was 43 at the time of his death, will be inducted at the Hall's next annual banquet on Feb. 25, Cooper said.
Seau played for the Chargers from 1990 to 2002. He retired from the National Football League in 2010, as a 12-time All-Pro known for his ferocious style of play and prolific community service.
In addition to the Chargers, Seau played for the Miami Dolphins and New England Patriots.
Prior to entering the NFL, Seau was a standout player for Oceanside High School and the University of Southern California.
Following his death, Seau's brain tissue was sent to the National Institutes of Health at his family's request. His death, along with the suicide deaths of other former players, raised questions about possible long-term cognitive problems faced by football players due to repeated concussions.