|Seau open to a 2009 return to New England?||07.06.09 at 1:53 pm ET|
Junior Seau told XX Radio in San Diego that if the Patriots needed him during the 2009 season, he’d be available.
“I’ll definitely look at it at the end of October or November. Let’s put it that way,” said the 40-year-old inside linebacker, who played in New England from 2006 through 2008.
“What I’m doing is basically just surfing and enjoying life with the kids and carrying on as if I am retired. But if they happen to need me towards the end of the season like they did last year, then I’ll definitely look at it.”
Seau initially retired from the NFL in August 2006, saying he was going through a “graduation.” At that time, he had 16 seasons in pro football — 13 seasons with the Chargers and three with the Dolphins.
But less than a month later, he signed a deal with the Patriots, and played in the first 11 games of the 2006 season while making 10 starts. He recorded 70 tackles (37 solo) in 2006, a total that ranked fifth on the team. He was placed on injured reserve with a broken arm on Nov. 27, 2006. He played all 16 regular-season games in 2007, finishing with 74 tackles (58 solo) and 3.5 sacks.
If he did decide to come back this season, it would mark the second consecutive year Seau made a midseason return to the Patriots. He returned at the end of the 2008 campaign and played the final four games of the season, ending with 22 tackles (15 solo).
Patriots coach Bill Belichick called himself “lucky” to have coached a player like Seau.
“I think that enthusiasm and passion carries over to everybody who is around him: players, coaches and people in the organization,” Belichick said last December. “He’s a special guy and a special player. He brings a lot, he really does.
“It’s pretty remarkable what he’s doing, and the fact that he played as much as he did last year and at his age, at this level, it’s pretty remarkable, especially at that position. I’m lucky to have coached a couple guys like that: Clay Matthews and Junior. That’s rare at that position. A lot of guys don’t even make it until 30, let alone 40.”
Last offseason when Seau was asked about a possible return to the NFL, he said the only team he’d come back to play for is the Patriots.
“Obviously there’s gotta be a need for me on a team that has a chance, which is the New England Patriots,” Seau said. “I’m not just gonna play the game because I love the game; it has to be that there’s a purpose as to why I’d go back and play in the National Football League, and that is to help finish what we started last year with the Pats. And that’s the only reason I’m looking into that.
“Other than that, going in and playing for another team besides the Pats, it would be a waste of my time and a waste of theirs.”
Seau is the second former Patriots linebacker in the last month to talk about a possible return to New England. Willie McGinest told The Sporting News recently he’s talked to many of his former teammates about playing for the Patriots in 2009.
“Yeah, I’ve talked to [quarterback] Tom [Brady], [defensive lineman Richard] Seymour and some other guys there,” McGinest said. “Those guys are lifelong friends, and I’ve heard some people say that it’d be a good fit. Why wouldn’t you want to be a part of that? And with all the history I have, what we accomplished in the playoffs, that wouldn’t be a bad way to finish up.”
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