Bruschi on Seau’s death: “I’m just sad, very sad … I loved him so much”by Javier Morales on May. 02, 2012, under Sports
More about Junior Seau with an Arizona angle: Read another blog by Javier Morales at his Web site WILDABOUTAZCATS.NET — Seau’s dominance against Arizona in 1989 one of best performances by an opponent against the Wildcats
Tedy Bruschi’s voice is usually excitable, but when an ESPN SportsCenter anchor asked him Wednesday for his reaction to the death of former teammate Junior Seau, Bruschi’s voice was a few notches below the norm.
“I’m just sad, very sad,” said Bruschi, the former Arizona standout who won three Super Bowls with the New England Patriots.
Seau, who died Wednesday at age 43 from an apparent suicide, joined the Patriots in 2006 and played three years with Bruschi and the New England linebacker corps.
“I grew up watching him play,” Bruschi said in the ESPN interview, his voice returning to its usual gusto. “I loved to watch him play. And then in 2006, he became my teammate. I spent a lot of time with him.
“We won a lot of games in 2007 for Junior (when New England went 16-0 in the regular season but lost in the Super Bowl to the New York Giants). We wanted to win the Super Bowl for Junior. I loved him so much. It didn’t take long for people to love Junior.”
Bruschi recalls Seau’s enthusiasm for football and his dedication to the sport.
“He had almost too much energy,” Bruschi, an ESPN NFL commentator, said with a laugh during the network’s interview. “I remember three weeks after he started, the strength staff came to me and said, ‘Hey, you have to talk to Junior.’
“I asked them, ‘Why do I have to talk to Junior?’ They said, ‘Junior is getting here at 4 a.m. We can’t get here that early. I told them he’s been doing that for 20 years. There’s no changing him now. They just had to get up (earlier).”
While Seau was intense on the field, and during his before-dawn workouts, he also played and behaved with a lighter side, according to Bruschi.
“He made veteran players work harder and have more fun,” Bruschi told ESPN. “In between practices, we’d be beat and tired and wanted to get rest. Junior picks up a guitar and tries to learn the guitar in the locker room …. I am gonna miss him so much.”
Bruschi was one of hundreds of former teammates and friends, Seau called, “Buddy”. It seemed every interview Wednesday with a former teammate of Seau brought up that word. Bruschi and others believe the word was not just a figure of speech for Seau; he meant that all those who touched his life were really his buddies.
“Anybody who knows Junior, knows the term ‘Buddy,’” Bruschi said in the interview. “That’s what I am going to miss so much. Everybody wanted to be around him.
“He loved to surf. I remember him telling me, ‘Bru, I need to get you out on the water and teach you how to surf.’ I wish I did that.”
Bruschi added that Seau was the “best linebacker to play the game.”
“He could always sense something with his instincts. If he felt like he could shoot a gap, he would. He was so smart and instinctive. When he saw something, he went after it and couldn’t be stopped.”
At the end of the interview, Bruschi recalled the waning seconds of the loss to the Giants in Super Bowl XLII. His voice became low again as he thought of his former teammate and friend missing out on the chance to win his first Super Bowl title.
Seau also played in Super Bowl XXIX with the San Diego Chargers, who lost to San Francisco.
“Randy Moss catches the touchdown pass to put the Pats up and all we needed was one stop,” Bruschi told ESPN. “One stop, and we’re 19-0 and world champions. But Eli (Manning) took their team down the field and scored.
“One of my main regrets is not getting Junior Seau his world championship. I remember he was on the ground, his face on the turf, feeling so bad after that loss. Winning the Super Bowl is something we wanted to deliver him — the coaches, players and organization. I just wish we could’ve done that. But, still, I have so many good memories of him.”