Sydney Seau scores a touchdown with solid speech about legendary Hall of Fame father

Posted: 08/08/2015 in football
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Sydney Seau tried hard not to get emotional but that was just not an attainable goal.

Not in Canton, Ohio on a memorable Saturday night. Not when it came to presenting her late father for induction into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

The 22-year-old daughter of NFL great Junior Seau was allowed to speak at the induction ceremonies after originally being informed she wouldn’t be allowed to do so. Public pressure helped change that decision.

Sydney Seau undoubtedly had to agree not to bring up the fact that her father’s suicide was likely due to chronic traumatic encephalopathy, the degenerative brain disease that has robbed many players of a quality life after football.

A minute of silence was held for Junior Seau but shhhhhh – let’s not talk about how the San Diego Chargers’ legend died at the age of 43 in 2012.

To me, the saddest part of the night is that Seau – one of the greatest linebackers in NFL history – wasn’t around to enjoy it. He gave his life to football and he deserved to be standing at the podium giving one of his knockout speeches.

I covered him for six seasons at a time when he was at the top of his game and his determination was unmatched. Whether the Chargers were going to their lone Super Bowl or suffering through a 1-15 campaign with dog-meat talent, he was giving his all even in practices.

I’ve seen it written several times over the past few years that Seau never had a concussion. I know that isn’t true.

You know how NFL teams currently fudge on their injury reports? Just think was it was like in the 1990s when there wasn’t as much scrutiny.

I vividly recall one week during the time I was covering Seau that he was invisible all week. Everything to do with Seau was hush-hush and nobody saw him during the media availability sessions, which was a real oddity since Seau was usually eager to get his television time.

Seau played on Sunday and everybody moved on. But I suspected at the time that he had a concussion – which had yet to develop into a big deal in the football world – and the Chargers were doing all they could to keep it quiet.

Of course, NFL teams lie all the time. Remember all the fibbing the Chargers did per their player injuries leading up to playing the New England Patriots in the AFC Championship Game in Jan. 2008?

The club opened up LaDainian Tomlinson for nationwide criticism by fudging about the seriousness of his knee injury. Team president Dean Spanos had no problem lying to my face over the fact that Philip Rivers had a torn anterior cruciate ligament injury and had undergone knee surgery earlier in the week. Norv Turner also looked into my eyes and denied that kicker Nate Kaeding had a broken bone in his leg.

So yeah, the last people you want to believe about anything are the Chargers. Soon to be known as the Los Angeles Chargers.

The NFL office is just as bad. And with the Seau family having a pending lawsuit against the league, you could see why there was reluctance to allow Sydney Seau to speak.

The Pro Football Hall of Fame cited a policy that was enacted several years back for the original decision. But both the Hall and the NFL eventually got it right by giving Sydney Seau more than enough time to speak about her father – both in the video on him and then on stage after his bust was unveiled.

Think of all the pressure on young Sydney as she was speaking in front of thousands of strangers about her late father. Then realize how eloquently she painted a picture of all things Junior – father, football player, community icon – and there’s nothing to do but tip your cap.

Pretty sure Junior was looking down – and was just as proud of his daughter as she is of him.


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