About 2,000 people gathered on Sunday to pay their respects to Junior Seau at a paddle-out held in his memory.
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The paddle-out began at about noon outside Seau's oceanfront home in Oceanside.
"There were tears, there was hollering, just like Junior would have done in the locker room or on the field," said New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees, who was among the several hundred who paddled out for a final goodbye. "He's an inspiration Junior was to so many people and one of the great pleasures of my career will always be playing with Junior Seau."
Brees, a former teammate of Seau's, played quarterback for the San Diego Chargers when Seau was the star linebacker.
"That was a special place for him and you can feel his presence," Brees said. "He was definitely present."
Seau was an avid surfer who was often seen riding the waves in front of his home. Fans and well-wishers formed a circle across the water and held hands while a prayer was said for him.
They also chanted Seau's name and the number 55, his number at Southern California and during 20 years in the NFL.
Lou Lytle of Wave Weapons Surf Shop helped organize the paddle-out and said Seau is now in a place with constant waves.
"It's just an awesome thing that everybody came together," Lytle said. "We've got to give all the credit to the good Lord."
Though the paddle-out went on as planned, one surfer had to be rescued.
According to the Oceanside Fire Department, an Oceanside lifeguard rescued a woman in her 50s that had suddenly gone face down in the water.
Lifeguards were able to bring her to the beach where they quickly began resuscitation efforts. Oceanside firefighters then arrived on the scene and began treatment immediately.
The woman was taken to a local hospital in serious condition.
Battalion Chief Bill Kogerman said he believed that the quick response by lifeguards and treatment from firefighters may have saved the woman's life.
It is the fifth day of mourning and each day the tributes for Seau are bigger than before. 10News learned Sunday that Seau held Bible studies at his home alongside San Diego Chargers chaplain pastor Shawn Mitchell.
"He loved the fact that
Romans 8:31, 'If God be for us who can be against us?' said Mitchell. "He loved Philippians 4:13, which says, 'I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.'"
Mitchell poured his heart out about his friend during Sunday's service at New Venture Christian Fellowship in Oceanside.
"What has transpired since Wednesday morning rocked the worlds of many, many people," he said.
He has been by the Seau family's side since Seau passed away on Wednesday and has been counseling Seau's children.
"Here is a guy that always had a kind word and a smile for everybody else but all of us sometimes find ourselves in dark places," said Mitchell.
He hopes people look to this tragedy and reach out to others the way Seau would have.
Brees added, "He was a guy who was so beloved. I'm not sure if there was a guy that's more beloved, a sports figure that's more beloved in a community than Junior Seau. He just meant so much to so many people."
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