CHANDLER, Ariz. — If Junior Seau isn’t elected into the Pro Football Hall of Fame on Saturday, then Tom Brady and Bill Belichick will have an issue with the selection committee.
Seau played four seasons with the New England Patriots from 2006 to 2009, appearing in 38 games, recording 4.5 sacks and 121 tackles.
Seau is a first-time Hall of Fame finalist this season, and Belichick can’t imagine that he won’t be elected.
“Well, it would mean it a lot. It’s obviously got to happen,” the Patriots head coach said Thursday at the team’s hotel. “I can’t imagine having a Professional Football Hall of Fame without Junior Seau in it.”
Belichick gave a glowing account of what it was like to coach the legendary linebacker.
“I’d say the one word that comes to me when I think of Junior is passion,” Belichick said. “He’s a very passionate guy, a lot of energy, a lot of enthusiasm, first guy in the building in the morning watching film, lifting weights, ready for practice — always loved to practice — flying around on the practice field, energy before the game on the sideline, emotional player but a smart player, a player that played with a purpose, played with good physical skill but also good concentration, good awareness.
“Great team player, very supportive of his teammates. I mean, everybody in the locker room loved Junior. They loved what he did, and they loved the way he interacted with the team. He was a great player, and I was very fortunate to have the opportunity to coach him. We had a lot of great experiences together, and obviously it was the end of his career, it was a little different than when he was in San Diego and so forth, but he brought a lot of energy and passion to our team, and I personally had a very good relationship with Junior.
“I loved coaching him, and he always expressed how much he enjoyed playing on the New England Patriots, and that meant a lot to me.”
Brady also fondly recalled his four seasons with Seau.
“Well, he was a phenomenal player, teammate, friend,” the Patriots quarterback said. “His attitude was infectious. He brought enthusiasm every day to practice. He’d show up at the weight room, and he’d be the first person in there at 6 in the morning on the treadmill, running, going into his 18th year in the league.
“He was just — he had a love for life, and he’s missed by all of his family and friends and certainly by me, and all of the guys that had a chance to be around him. He was a special person. I have no doubt he’ll be elected. If he can’t make it, nobody can. He’s truly one of a kind, and it was a privilege to play with him.”
Thumbnail photo via David Butler II/USA TODAY Sports Images