Chargers honor Junior Seau in ceremony before home opener
Players wore white uniforms, No. 55 on helmets
Last Updated: 243 days ago
SAN DIEGO - The San Diego Chargers retired the No. 55 worn by the late linebacker Junior Seau during a special ceremony before Sunday's home opener against the Tennessee Titans at Qualcomm Stadium.
Seau, who died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound May 2 at his Oceanside beachfront home, was a 12-time All-Pro known for his ferocious style of play and prolific community service. He was one of San Diego's most popular professional athletes and now no other Charger football player will ever wear No. 55 on his jersey.
"No Charger will ever wear No. 55 again," said former Charger quarterback Dan Fouts during the ceremony. "No. 55 is officially retired."
A huge banner that reads "Seau 55" now hangs above the field where Seau excelled so much at the game he loved so dearly.
"It really is a special day for us to honor Junior [and] retire his number today," said Chargers owner Dean Spanos. "It's the single biggest honor that we can give him and it's with a great deal of pleasure that we do it obviously."
Seau's parents and his children were at Qualcomm Stadium for the ceremony. The children were presented with a framed jersey that their father wore.
"I'm here to show my last respects for Junior Seau," said Annette Bush.
She is Seau's number one fan, which is a title the Charger great himself gave to her.
"I'm honored to be here today. It's a privilege," she added. "He's truly missed and the Chargers are not the same without him here."
The Chargers wore white jerseys together with white pants for the first time since their new uniforms were introduced in 2007. They asked fans to dress in all white, following a practice introduced by the NHL's Winnipeg Jets in 1987.
Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers called himself "a big fan of wearing all white."
"We did it a lot in college and the few times that we've gotten to do it here with the old throwback uniforms," Rivers said. "I thought those were the best-looking uniforms that we've worn.
"The fans and the energy that they bring make this a tough place for other teams to come and play. I know that our team feeds off that energy."
On the field, all the Charger players also wore No. 55 on the backs of their helmets. In the stands, Charger fans showed their creativity. 10News video showed two men who had painted their bodies white and on their backs were No. 55, with one man having the name "Junior" on his back and the other "Seau" on his.
Fans showed off their creative signs as well. Mark Wassmer and his girlfriend both made signs in Chargers colors. One of them had a 55 on the top and a football shape on the bottom with the words "Say Ow" in the middle.
"[Seau] was actually the one that made me become a Charger fan," said Wassmer. "I remember eating at Seau's [restaurant] with my family. So, it's just a longstanding tradition in our family and to say bye to him today is a really good thing."
Copyright 2012 Scripps Media, Inc. City News Service contributed to this report. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.