In his first season eligible for the honor, former San Diego Chargers linebacker Junior Seau is a finalist to make the Hall of Fame. Seau played two decades in the NFL and played with the type of passion and energy that you just didn’t see at the time.
We all know the impact he had as a Charger, but Junior did things that other linebackers just didn’t do. No linebacker has had more seasons with 80 + tackles/4 + sacks than Seau (4) and only one player has more seasons with 80 + tackles/4 + sacks/2 + interceptions (2).
Seau could line up at any linebacker position and single-handedly alter the game by himself. He was great as a pass rusher, just as good in pass coverage, and better against the run. There’s no doubt in my mind Seau’s numbers would be inflated if he played against today’s offenses.
What made Seau such a special player wasn’t how good he was (he was the best linebacker in the game), but how he was that good for that long. You could argue that Seau peaked for a decade, which is ridiculous in hindsight. In addition to that, I don’t think it gets mentioned how much Seau carried the defenses he was on. He wasn’t always surrounded with Pro Bowl talent (looking at you, Ray Lewis), he elevated players around him. That’s the sign of a truly great player.
There’s nothing to say about Seau that hasn’t already been said. He’s the best linebacker (defender?) of his generation and it’s not close. He was a leader, a winner, and was one of the most fun players that we’ve ever watched. There’s no debate to be had whether Seau deserves to go in as a first ballot Hall of Famer. It should be unanimous.