The sports world reacts to Junior Seau's death

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The sports world reacts to Junior Seau's death

When the news of Junior Seau's apparent suicide hit on Wednesday, it was undoubtedly a shock to all. Maybe Seau didn't know it, but he had a countless number of people in his corner -- lives he's touched before, during, and after his 20-year prolific NFL career.

People from all over the sports world reflected on the loss of someone they consider near and dear to their heart.

Robert Kraft, Patriots chairman and CEO

Every day, Junior Seau greeted his teammates and coaches with an energetic Hey, Buddy! It was genuine, enthusiastic and backed by his radiant smile. For four seasons, after every game he played, he would always find me in the locker room just to give me a big hug and squeeze tighter than anyone I remember. It was one of the many things I enjoyed about him. He was passionate about football and always spoke with great conviction. He may have been one of the most charismatic Patriots player in franchise history. I loved listening to him when he addressed an audience. I will never forget presenting him with his AFC Championship ring at Seaus Restaurant in San Diego before our game against the Chargers in 2008. It was a memorable moment shared by both Patriots and Chargers fans, who that day celebrated pregame together as Junior Seau fans. He was beloved in his hometown of San Diego and quickly became a fan favorite in New England. Today, the fans of the teams for which Junior played San Diego, Miami and New England lost more than a legendary football player. We lost our Buddy. My thoughts and prayers are with his family and I extend my sincere condolences to his many friends and former teammates.

Deion Branch, WR New England Patriots

I wanted to send my thoughts and prayers to the family of Junior Seau. Junior was also a member of the New England Patriots family and he will be greatly missed. He was an inspiration both on and off the football field.

Dean Spanos, Chargers president

"I can't put into words how I'm feeling right now. I'm shocked and devastated," Spanos said in a statement. "Junior was my friend. We all lost a friend today. Junior was an icon in our community.

"He transcended the game. He wasn't just a football player, he was so much more. He was loved by everyone in our family, our organization and throughout the NFL."

Jason Taylor, retired Miami Dolphins linebacker

Im shocked and saddened. Devastated, really. Junior was one of the most positive, uplifting people I have ever known. He was always full of life and energy and had an infectious spirit that lifted everyone around him. Junior called everyone buddy and treated them like he had known them forever. It would be easy for me to say he was a great friend and teammates, and a tremendous competitor, but that would be selling Junior short. Junior Seau was an individual of great honor and integrity, a leader of men and someone with a deep-rooted passion for giving of himself to make the people, the community and especially the children around him better. This is an immeasurable loss for so many. My heart and prayers go out to Juniors family, Gina and their children. Im going to miss you buddy.

Roger Goodell, NFL commissioner

All of us are deeply saddened about Junior Seau, a great player loved by teammates who also worked hard to serve his community. Junior and his family will remain in our thoughts.

DeMaurice Smith, NFLPA president

The NFL Players Association is saddened to hear of the passing of Junior Seau, a terrific player and teammate. The 12-time Pro Bowler achieved a level of success on the field that is unparalleled and his off-the-field service accomplishments are beyond admirable. The All-Decade Team linebackers career spanned an incredible 20 seasons, and Junior Seaus determination and passion for the game will always be remembered in the hearts and minds of the fans. The NFLPA player family joins with the Seau family to mourn a brother lost too soon.

Dave Roberts, former San Diego Padres and Red Sox outfielder, current Padres first base coach

"I'm extremely saddened. He impacted so many people in such a positive way. For me to be able to call him a friend, it was special to me.

"Obviously, I don't know all the details. I just know he's not with us right now. It's a huge loss. It's a huge loss."

"We grew up in the same area, became friends and have a lot of mutual friends," said Roberts. "That's how we forged our relationship."

Bud Black, Padres manager

"The name Junior Seau was synonymous with San Diego, along with Tony Gwynn, Dave Winfield, all the greats," said Black. "To have this happen ... disbelief."

Doug Flutie, former Chargers and Patriots (and BC) Quarterback, via Twitter

Junior Seau was one of the most inspirational people I have ever met. He was a great leader, teammate, and friend. He will be missed.

Jim Harbaugh, 49ers head coach

I, along with the entire NFL family, the San Diego community and those who shared a life with Junior, grieve the loss of the ultimate teammate and friend. I am saddened that I was not there for Junior as he had always been for his teammates and friends.

The qualities I most respected in Junior were the caring and respect he showed to all those with whom he came in contact. One of my fondest remembrances as a professional football player was looking across the locker room after playing my last career game with the Chargers and knowing that I had shared that moment with one of the greatest teammates and competitors the game has ever known. The moment moved me to get off my stool, approach Junior and ask him to trade jerseys. Its the only time I had done that in my career.

My thoughts and prayers go out to Juniors family.

Drew Brees, QB New Orleans Saints, via Twitter

"So sad to hear about Jr Seau. Junebug. Buddy, The greatest teammate a young guy could ask for. This is a sad day. He will be missed greatly.

Oakland Raiders

We are deeply saddened by the news of the passing of Junior Seau. Juniors great passion, intensity and love for the game were evident every time he stepped on the football field. He was a formidable competitor who left an indelible mark on the game of football. We extend our most sincere condolences to his family and the Charger organization.

The USC family reacts to the news:

Pat Haden, Athletic Director

We are tremendously saddened to hear this news and our hearts go out to his family and children. Junior Seau was one of the greatest legends in USC football history. He will always be remembered by USC as the original No. 55.

Lane Kiffin, Head Coach

This is a very sad day. The USC football program and the entire Trojan Family extends our condolences to Juniors family. He was one of the greatest Trojans of all-time. Our team and fans were very fortunate to see him just a couple of weeks ago at our Spring Game at the Coliseum. He will be deeply missed.

Current and former USC Trojans also reacted to the news.

Curran’s 100 plays that shaped a dynasty: A nice pair of kicks

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Curran’s 100 plays that shaped a dynasty: A nice pair of kicks

We're into the Top 10 now.

These are the plays of the Bill Belichick Era you best never forget. And probably can't. They're the ones that led directly to championships -- most for New England, a couple for the other guys. Or they're plays that signified a sea change in the way the New England Patriots under Belichick would be behaving from there on out.

I did my best to stack them in order of importance. You got a problem with that? Good. Let us know what's too high, too low or just plain wrong. And thanks for keeping up!

PLAY NUMBER: 4

THE YEAR: 2001 (actually Feb. 3, 2002)

THE GAME: Patriots 20, Rams 17

THE PLAY: Vinatieri 48-yarder in Superdome delivers SB36 win

WHY IT’S HERE: When the Red Sox won the World Series in 2004, it was viewed nationally and locally as a cathartic moment for a long-suffering region. Deliverance for a fanbase that resolutely suffered through 90 years of star-crossed heartbreak with a mix of stoicism and fatalism. “Long-suffering Red Sox fan” was a badge of honor, an identity. And New Englanders – baseball fans or not - would self-identify with the hideous notion of Red Sox Nation. There was no “Patriots Nation.” To drag out the forced metaphor, Patriots fans were living in tents and cabins in the wilderness, recluses. Reluctant to be seen in town where they’d be mocked. And suddenly, they cobbled together one of the most improbable, magical seasons in American professional sports, a year which gave birth to a dynasty which was first celebrated, now reviled but always respected. And while so many games and plays led to this 48-yarder – ones we’ve mentioned 12 times on this list – Adam Vinatieri kicking a 48-yarder right down the f****** middle to win the Super Bowl was an orgasmic moment for the recluses and pariahs that had been Patriots fans when nobody would admit to such a thing.
 

PLAY NUMBER: 3

THE YEAR: 2001 (actually Jan. 19, 2002)

THE GAME: Patriots 16, Raiders 13

THE PLAY: Vinatieri from 45 through a blizzard to tie Snow Bowl

WHY IT’S HERE: Two thoughts traveling on parallel tracks were running through the mind while Adam Vinatieri trotted onto the field and lined up his 45-yarder to tie Oakland in the 2001 AFC Divisional Playoff Game, the final one at Foxboro Stadium. “There’s no way he can make this kick in this weather,” was the first. “The way this season’s gone, I bet he makes this kick. It can’t end here. It can’t end now.” From where I was sitting in the press box I couldn’t see the ball clearly, probably because I was looking for it on a higher trajectory than Vinatieri used. So I remember Vinatieri going through the ball, my being unable to locate it in the air and then looking for the refs under the goalposts to see their signal. And when I located them, I saw the ball scuttle past. Then I saw the officials’ arms rise. Twenty-five years earlier, the first team I ever followed passionately – the ’76 Patriots – left me in tears when they lost to the Raiders in the playoffs. Now, at 33, I was covering that team and it had gotten a measure of retribution for the 8-year-old me.
 

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