San Diego native Junior Seau was inducted into the San Diego Chargers Hall of Fame as part of Alumni Day ceremonies at Sunday's sold-out game against the Denver Broncos at Qualcomm Stadium.
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"I can't even describe it with a word," said Seau. "All I can say is I'm honored. My family's honored and we're happy to be here."
In front of a crowd of nearly 71,000 fellow Chargers Hall of Famer Dan Fouts introduced the 42-year-old.
Seau wore a Samoan money lei and watched highlights of his career with his friends and family.
Former teammates said Seau was a one-of-a-kind talent.
"He was the most talented player that actually acted like he had no talent at all," said former Chargers teammate Marcellus Wiley.
Another former teammate, Gary Plummer, told 10News, "He's a passionate guy and passion is just a part of you whether it's in your career as a football player or him in the community."
Seau was a Pro Bowl selection a team-record 12 times in his 13 seasons with the Chargers, including 12 consecutive seasons, the third-longest streak in NFL history.
Seau, a Chargers linebacker from 1990-2002, was a six-time first-team All-Pro selection by The Associated Press and a second-team selection two other years. He was named to the Pro Bowl for 12
Seau led the Chargers in tackles for eight seasons. His 200 regular-season games played are tied for the second most in team history with tackle Russ Washington.
Seau has also shined off the field. He established the Junior Seau Foundation in 1992, which supports child abuse prevention, drug and alcohol awareness, recreational opportunities, anti-juvenile delinquency efforts and educational programs.
Seau was born in San Diego on Jan. 19, 1969, graduated from Oceanside High School, where he was the San Diego Section Defensive Player of the Year as a senior in 1986.
Before starring in the NFL and college, Seau had to sit out his freshman year of college because of academic reasons. Seau said it was a tough time but said everything happens for a reason.
"The journey in which I had to endure is the reason I'm here today," he said.
Seau went on to play two seasons at USC, where he was an All-American in 1989 and the Chargers first-round choice in the 1990 NFL draft, the fifth player chosen overall.
After leaving the Chargers, Seau played for the Miami Dolphins from 2003 to 2005 and the New England Patriots from 2006 to 2009.
"From the day we drafted Junior, we knew he was special," said Chargers Chairman of the Board-President Dean Spanos.
"He's such an energized, charismatic person. He attacks life the same way he attacked ball carries. It's that passion that turned him into the Hall of Fame player he is.
"His athletic ability speaks for itself, but it's his passion and energy that separate him from the rest of the league.
"It's that passion for life that has made him an icon in San Diego. He is San Diego in so many ways, in how he has represented himself on and off the field and how he has been there to help and support the community when and where it's needed."
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