Thursday, May 3, 2012

Two Sides of Junior Seau

Memories of Junior Seau, the great linebacker who committed suicide Wednesday, via a gunshot to the chest, at his home in Oceanside, Ca. Some good, some not so good.

According to two guys, Seau, who spent his best years with the San Diego Chargers, was a friendly, likable, all-around good guy. Possibly, though, said one of the guys, haunted by demons. To me, above all else, he was the unforgivable, not only an SC Trojan, but a Cal Bear hater.

I met Seau twice, briefly, in Los Angeles, each time at the posh homes of one his SC buddies. Steve couldn't say enough good things about Junior. Neither could Danny. During each encounter, it was made clear that I am a Cal Bear loyalist. A staunch Trojan, Seau verbally brutalized the Bears, pointing out how they are terminally weak and, when he played them in college, like lambs at the line of scrimmage. He kept calling them a Division II team. He thought it was all in good fun. To him it was. Us oft-maligned Cal Bears, though, are thin-skinned. To me he'll always be Junior Seau, Bear hater.

The second encounter was early last year, a few months after he was involved in a puzzling incident, driving his car off a 30-foot cliff near Carlsbad, Ca in October, 2010. He only sustained minor injuries. Though it smacked of a suicide attempt, he claimed he fell asleep at the wheel. That afternoon in Danny's house, he was laughing, back-slapping and, yes, Bear bashing. He looked like he'd live forever.

But Danny was worried about him. He said a few times that day, when Seau was in another part of the house, having fun, "Something ain't right with him." Danny, though, said he couldn't put his finger on what was wrong. Junior's future entered the conversation. A weird question came up. Would Seau be around in five years? I recall Danny's solemn reply. "It's horrible, but I don't think so."

I called Danny on Wednesday night. He said he was in no mood to talk.