The National Football League lost a great one, and the San Diego community lost an even better person in Junior Seau today.
I live in the city of Oceanside, where Seau also resided, and I have seen first-hand his contributions to the community. He will be missed.
Seau fondly referred to everyone as "buddy" and treated them as if they really were his friend. Everyone was significant to him, regardless of where you came from or what your social standing happened to be. His exuberant personality was contagious, even through the television.
Seau's 20-year career was full of brilliant moments and heartbreaking losses. His post-career life was riddled with personal tragedy. If the news of his reported suicide proves to be true, I hope he was able to find peace within himself.
Suicide is a sensitive topic, and I will tread as lightly as possible. I have no intentions of offending anyone or creating an atmosphere of controversy. However, I feel this has to be addressed.
The NFL has lost a handful of players to suicide in recent years, with Dave Duerson probably being the most notable. Duerson sadly shot himself in the chest, noting he wanted to preserve his brain for studies of the effects of concussions in relation to depression. Current reports illustrate that Seau also shot himself in the chest.
There has been plenty of talk that suggests Seau's suspected suicide is linked to depression from years of delivering big hits in the NFL. Seau could have been depressed from not knowing what to do with himself after all he had ever known had been taken from him by Father Time. We do not know if there is a link with Seau's believed depression and brain trauma. Either scenario is entirely possible, but speculating does not accomplish anything. The only thing we know for sure is that he did not have one documented concussion. That isn't to say Junior never suffered any and failed to report them.
Football is a violent sport that leads to injuries and long-term debilitating ailments. That cannot be denied. However, I steadfastly hope the league does not jump to conclusions and use this catastrophe to further take away elements of the game that could - in theory - limit post-football conditions.
Players understand what they are getting into. They know the potential risks - both short- and long-term - they assume by playing the game they so dearly love. In fact, the league briefs them on it as rookies.
I am all in favor of removing unnecessary (illegal) hits from the game, but restricting how football is played by limiting the distance of kickoffs, or removing them altogether, is not the answer. It does, however, appease and make people feel as though the NFL is trying to make a difference. After all, no one likes to feel uncomfortable. While this may sound extreme, where does it end? Removal of the blitz? The running back position? Safeties playing in the box? Punt returns?
Now that the ugly part is out of the way, whatever the reason for this senseless loss, it is a sad day for NFL fans and those in this community. I extend my sincere condolences to Seau's family and friends. It isn't too often that you feel like you know someone without ever having met them, but Seau's personality and sense of humanity transcended football.
Rest in peace, buddy.
About Cory J. Bonini
Cory is KFFL's General Manager. In late 2002, he joined the KFFL staff as a research analyst and has been involved in fantasy sports since 1996. A member of the Fantasy Sports Trade Association, as well as Fantasy Sports Writers Association, Bonini has been featured in print, on radio and on scores of websites. Bonini co-hosted Big Lead Sports on SiriusXM Fantasy Sports Radio from 2011 to 2012.
Bonini was recognized with the 2010 Best Article in Print Award from the FSWA and was a finalist for the same award in 2011. In '11, he finished first overall in the FSWA NFL experts challenge that featured 60 of the industry's best competitors.
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