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Bill Belichick on HOF election for Junior Seau on Saturday: ‘It’s obviously got to happen’ 01.29.15 at 2:22 pm ET
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Junior Seau pictured here in his final NFL game of a 20-year career, a playoff loss to the Ravens at Gillette Stadium. (Al Bello/Getty Images)

Junior Seau is pictured here in his final NFL game of a 20-year career, a playoff loss to the Ravens at Gillette Stadium. (Al Bello/Getty Images)

CHANDLER, Ariz. — Junior Seau will be elected to the Hall of Fame this Saturday by pro football writers.

At least that’s the assumption Bill Belichick is going on. The Patriots coach couldn’t have made his support for the player and the man more evident Thursday morning, two days before the election takes place.

“Well, it would mean a lot. It’€™s obviously got to happen. I can’€™t imagine having a Professional Football Hall of Fame without Junior Seau in it,” Belichick began. “The one word that comes to me when I think of Junior in life and football [is] passion. He’€™s a very passionate guy, lot of energy, 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 [and] during the game, emotional player, but a smart player.”

Seau was a 10-time All-Pro, 12-time Pro Bowl selection, and named to the NFL 1990s All-Decade Team. The San Diego native played college football at Southern Cal before being chosen by the Chargers as the fifth overall pick of the 1990 NFL draft. Seau started for 13 seasons for the Chargers before being traded to the Miami Dolphins, where he spent three years. Then, before the 2006 season, Belichick finally got a chance to coach one of his favorite players. He did so for the final four seasons of his career.

“[He] was 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,” Belichick said. “They loved what he did and they loved the way that he interacted with the team. He was a great player. I was very fortunate to have the opportunity to coach him. We had a lot of great experiences together.”

Seau retired after the 2009 season Obviously it was the end of his career; things were 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.” Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: Bill Belichick, HOF, Junior Seau, nfl
Junior Seau among 18 finalists for Pro Football Hall of Fame 01.09.15 at 11:24 am ET
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The late Junior Seau, in his first year of eligibility, is one of 18 finalists for the Pro Football Hall of Fame after the list was cut down Thursday to 15 modern era nominees, one senior and two contributors.

To be entered, nominees have to get at least 80 percent of the votes from the selection committee, which is still to be elected and will be comprised of 46 people. The final class will be announced Jan. 31.

Seau’€™s career spanned from 1990-2009, during which he received Pro Bowl honors 12 times. The linebacker played for the Patriots from 2006-2009 but spent the most of his tenure with the Chargers from 1990-2002. He committed suicide in 2012.

In addition to Seau, Kurt Warner and Orlando Pace are on the billing as first-year options as well.

Warner helped the Rams earn their only Super Bowl victory in 1999 and won league MVP that year as well as in 2001. He was also part of the 2008 Cardinals team that made the Super Bowl for the first and only time in their history.

Pace was selected by the Rams first overall in 1997 and earned five Pro Bowl selections over 13 years in the league. He was a teammate of Warner’€™s when the Rams won the Super Bowl.

The other modern-day finalists are kicker Morten Andersen, running back Jerome Bettis, wide receiver Tim Brown, coach Don Coryell, running back Terrell Davis, coach Tony Dungy, linebacker/defensive end Kevin Greene, linebacker/defensive end Charles Haley, wide receiver Marvin Harrison, coach Jimmy Johnson, safety John Lynch and guard Will Shields.

The senior finalist is former Vikings center Mick Tingelhof, and the contributors are Bill Polian and Ron Wolf, who built Super Bowl teams in their times as executives.

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Bill Belichick gets emotional making a Hall of Fame pitch for Junior Seau 12.03.14 at 8:02 pm ET
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Junior Seau pictured here in his final NFL game of a 20-year career, a playoff loss to the Ravens at Gillette Stadium. (Al Bello/Getty Images)

Junior Seau pictured here in his final NFL game of a 20-year career, a playoff loss to the Ravens at Gillette Stadium. (Al Bello/Getty Images)

Bill Belichick doesn’t often show emotion but when he does, it’s usually for very good reason.

Of all the players who have played for him, few touched him the way Junior Seau did in parts of four seasons (2006-09). Belichick was asked Wednesday to reflect on the life and times of the late linebacker who is up for Hall of Fame nomination this year.

“Tremendous. [I] loved Junior and his family,” Belichick said to reporters in San Diego. “[I] was out here for the funeral and it was very emotional. Nobody loved the game more than Junior did. Nobody would be more deserving to be in the Hall of Fame than Junior Seau. [He’€™s the] all-time leader in tackling [1522 in 20 seasons], but more than stats, his love of the game, his passion for the game, and the high level that he played at at a very difficult position. I mean, him, Clay Matthews [Jr.], guys to play as long as they did at that position as well as he did is phenomenal. He is so deserving. I hope it happens.”

Seau was one of those chosen to speak to the rally of Patriots fans in the snow at Gillette Stadium before the team went out to Glendale, Arizona for Super Bowl XLII. It was in that perfect regular season of 2007 that Seau recorded the final 3.5 sacks of his career. He finished with 56.5 sacks over 20 NFL seasons.

It’s hard not to be reminded of Seau this week, as the former great linebacker grew up in San Diego.

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Read More: Bill Belichick, Junior Seau, New England Patriots, San Diego Chargers
Ex-Patriots Ty Law, Junior Seau among HOF semifinalists 11.19.14 at 9:43 am ET
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Ty Law earned his red Patriots HOF jacket this year. Is a yellow one from Canton next? (Mike Petraglia/

Ty Law earned his red Patriots HOF jacket this year. Is a yellow one from Canton next? (Mike Petraglia/

Former Patriots Ty Law and Junior Seau are among 26 semifinalists for the Pro Football Hall of Fame‘s class of 2015, it was announced Tuesday.

Law played 10 seasons with the Patriots as one of the best corners in the NFL, finishing with 36 interceptions during his time in New England. The two-time All-Pro ended his career with briefs stopovers with the Chiefs, Jets and Broncos before retiring after the 2009 season.

Seau played 20 years in the NFL, including the better part of four seasons with the Patriots (2006-2009). The linebacker, who also starred for the Chargers and Dolphins, is among eight first-year candidates in the balloting.

Kurt Warner and Tony Dungy were also among the headliners who made the initial cut. Warner is among eight first-year candidates in the balloting, while Dungy is in his second year on the ballot.

Other semifinalists include receivers Marvin Harrison, Tim Brown and newcomers Isaac Bruce and Torry Holt; running backs Jerome Bettis, Terrell Davis, Roger Craig and newcomer Edgerrin James; safeties John Lynch, Darren Woodson and Steve Atwater; defensive ends/linebackers Charles Haley and Kevin Greene; linebacker Karl Mecklenburg; offensive tackles Joe Jacoby, Mike Kenn and newcomer Orlando Pace; guard Will Shields; newcomer center Kevin Mawae; placekicker Morten Andersen; and coaches Don Coryell and Jimmy Johnson.

The list will be cut to 15 modern era finalists to be considered on Jan. 31, the day before the Super Bowl, in Phoenix. Inductions will be in August.

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Ex-Patriots Tedy Bruschi, Ty Law among preliminary nominees for Pro Football Hall of Fame 09.17.14 at 7:00 am ET
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Tedy Bruschi (Getty Images)

Tedy Bruschi (Getty Images)

Several former Patriots are among the preliminary nominees for the 2015 class of the Pro Football Hall of Fame, it was revealed late Tuesday.

All of the nominees who made it who have New England ties were on the defensive side of the football. Linebackers Tedy Bruschi (who played with the Patriots from 1996-2008), Willie McGinest (1994-2005) and Junior Seau (2006-2009) are all on the list. In addition, Rodney Harrison (2003-2008), Ty Law (1995-2004) and Shawn Springs (2009) made it as well. And defensive lineman Fred Smerlas (1991-1992) and Ted Washington (2003) were also named as nominees.

A total of 99 players and 14 coaches comprise the 113 nominees. A modern-era player or coach must be retired at least five consecutive seasons to be eligible. The selection committee will choose 25 candidates as semifinalists in late November. That list will be reduced to 15 modern-era finalists in early January. The 2015 class will be voted on the day before the Super Bowl.

One senior committee nominee, former Vikings center Mick Tingelhoff, also will be on the ballot.

Several former Patriots have already reached the Pro Football Hall of Fame, including offensive lineman John Hannah, linebacker Andre Tippett and cornerback Mike Haynes.

Read More: Andre Tippett, Fred Smerlas, John Hannah, Junior Seau
Report: Junior Seau had brain disease 01.10.13 at 7:52 am ET
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Gina Seau, the ex-wife of former NFL star Junior Seau, told ABC News that her former husband’s brain has tested positive for chronic traumatic encephalopathy, a neurodegenerative disease that can lead to memory loss, depression and dementia. Junior Seau committed suicide last May, shooting himself in the chest at his home in Oceanside, Cailf. Within hours of his death, the Seau family had received calls from researchers hoping to use Seau’s brain for study.

The Seau family ultimately selected the National Institutes of Health, and five independent brain specialists consulted by the NIH all came to the conclusion that Seau suffered from chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE), a disease associated with head trauma. Over 4,000 former NFL players are currently suing the league in federal court, claiming the league refuse to acknowledge the link between brain damage and football, even after CTE was found in retired players. The Seau family has not decided if it would join in the lawsuits.

“I think it’s important for everyone to know that Junior did indeed suffer from CTE,” Gina Seau told ABC News. “It’s important that we take steps to help these players. We certainly don’t want to see anything like this happen again to any of our athletes.”

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Rodney Harrison on The Big Show: NFL ‘trying to protect their butts’ 06.12.12 at 8:48 pm ET
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NBC football analyst and former Patriot Rodney Harrison appeared on The Big Show on Tuesday and discussed his thoughts on concussions in the NFL. To hear the interview, go to The Big Show audio on demand page.

Harrison said that while he thinks the NFL is taking action to cut down on concussions to help the players, it is also doing its best to help itself in the public eye.

‘€œReally what the NFL is doing is they’€™re trying to clean up the game,’€ Harrison said. ‘€œThey know that they’€™re getting a lot of lawsuits with all of these different concussions and things of that sort and they are trying to protect not only the players, but they are trying to protect their butts because people are looking to sue them. Obviously with all these different guys lined up and filing these cases against the national football league it is very difficult right now for them.

‘€œI think they are doing the right thing by cutting out all of these physical padded practices, these minicamps and things of that sort because if I played in the time when they would have cut all these back I could have played 20 years.’€

Harrison went on to say that while it is on the NFL to help protect the players’€™ long-term health, the players themselves should understand the risk involved with playing in the NFL.

‘€œI think [the NFL is] doing the best job they can, but we as players, we have to understand that if we hit a 250-, 300-pounder helmet to helmet, guess what? It’€™s going to hurt,’€ Harrison said. ‘€œThere is a chance that you are going to have headaches, concussions. There is going to be physical damage, not just now but later on down the line when you get older. It’€™s the risk that you assume when you’€™re playing in the National Football League. You would have got to be a complete idiot not to sit back and understand that there are going to be repercussions running into a guy for a matter of three, four, five or 10 years. It is what it is. I’€™m not one of those guys.

‘€œI have experienced headaches and I have experienced dizziness and these things, but I’€™m not trying to file a lawsuit because I pretty much knew that. Guess what? I play a pretty tough sport. And guess what? It hurts, and it’€™s painful, and you’€™re going to have headaches and there are going to be long-term consequences to everything that you’€™ve done. And that is all part of the game.’€

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