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.

NFLPA tells rookies to be like Rob Gronkowski

NFLPA tells rookies to be like Rob Gronkowski

Rob Gronkowski is a model citizen in the NFL. In fact, the NFL Players Association is advising rookies to be more like Gronk, according to The Boston Globe

The New England Patriots tight end has developed a name for himself on and off the football field. With that attention comes branding. And at the NFLPA Rookie Premiere from May 18 to 20, the NFLPA encouraged rookies to develop their own brand -- much like Gronkowski.

“Some people think he’s just this extension of a frat boy, and that it’s sort of accidental,” Ahmad Nassar said, via The Globe. Nassar is the president of NFL Players Inc., the for-profit subsidiary of the NFLPA. “And that’s wrong. It’s not accidental, it’s very purposeful. So the message there is, really good branding is where you don’t even feel it. You think, ‘Oh, that’s just Gronk being Gronk.’ Actually, that’s his brand, but it’s so good and so ingrained and so authentic, you don’t even know it’s a brand or think it.”

Gronkowski's "Summer of Gronk" has indirectly become one of his streams of income. The tight end makes appearances for magazines and sponsors. Because of his earnings from branding and endorsements, he didn't touch his NFL salary during the early years of his career.

Gronk was one of three players who were the topics of discussion during the symposium. Dak Prescott and Odell Beckham were also used as examples of players who have been able to generate additional income from endorsements. Beckham, in particular, has been in the spotlight off the football field. He's appeared on the cover of Madden, and just signed a deal with NIke which is reportedly worth $25 million over five years with upwards of $48 million over eight years. His deal, which is a record for an NFL player, will pay him more than his contract with the Giants.

“A lot of people talk to the players about, ‘You should be careful with your money and you should treat your family this way and you should treat your girlfriend or your wife.’ Which is fine. I think that’s valuable,” Nassar said, via The Globe. “But we don’t often give them a chance to answer the question: How do you see yourself as a brand? Because Gronk, Odell, none of those guys accidentally ended up where they are from a branding and marketing standpoint.”

Tom Brady delivers video message at funeral of Navy SEAL

Tom Brady delivers video message at funeral of Navy SEAL


Tom Brady delivered a video message last week at the funeral of Navy SEAL Kyle Milliken, a Maine native and former UConn track athlete killed in Somalia on May 5.

Bill Speros of The Boston Herald, in a column this Memorial Day weekend, wrote about Milliken and Brady's message.   

Milliken ran track at Cheverus High School in Falmouth, Maine, and at UConn, where he graduated in 2001. Milliken lived in Virginia Beach, Va., with his wife, Erin, and two children.  He other Navy SEALs participated in a training exercise at Gillette Stadium in 2011 where he met and posed for pictures with Brady.

Speros wrote that at Milliken’s funeral in Virginia Beach, Va., Brady's video offered condolences and thanked Milliken’s family for its sacrifice and spoke of how Milliken was considered a “glue guy” by UConn track coach Greg Roy.

Milliken had served in Iraq and Afghanistan, earning four Bronze Star Medals and was based in Virginia since 2004.  He was killed in a nighttime firefight with Al-Shabaab militants near Barij, about 40 miles from the Somali capital of Mogadishu. He was 38.

The Pentagon said Milliken was the first American serviceman killed in combat in Somalia since the "Black Hawk Down" battle that killed 18 Americans in 1993. 

In a statement to the Herald, Patriots owner Robert Kraft said: “It was an honor to host Kyle and his team for an exercise at Gillette Stadium in 2011. It gave new meaning to the stadium being known as home of the Patriots. We were deeply saddened to hear of Kyle’s death earlier this month.

“As Memorial Day weekend approaches, we are reminded of the sacrifices made by patriots like Kyle and so many others who have made the ultimate sacrifice to defend and protect our rights as Americans. Our thoughts, prayers and heartfelt appreciation are extended to the Milliken family and the many families who will be remembering lives lost this Memorial Day weekend.”