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.
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.