The loss of former San Diego Chargers linebacker Junior Seau to suicide last Wednesday sent shock-waves throughout the NFL and it's fans. Seau, at only 43, was as highly regarded a player and a person as you would ever find in sports. He left everything he had on the football field each week for family and team; a trait that endeared him to just about everyone who met him.
Unfortunately, like many athletes, Seau was unable to make the transition from being a feared and respected football player, to being just another guy who used to play. That same fire that drove him on the field had no outlet off of it, and in the end, Seau became another sad story of an ex-NFL player.
His life, however, is what people should be focusing on, and this past Sunday, former teammate and current New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees took to the waves to honor his friend.
Brees, who spent two memorable seasons in San Diego with Seau, joined a group of 200 surfers outside the Oceanside, Calif. Home of the former star. Together, the group held a 'paddle out' in honor of Seau, an avid surfer who was often seen riding the waves outside his home.
"We were in the water where I know Junior loved to be," Brees told USA Today. "It was a beautiful day because Junior is present here with us."
The 'paddle out' consisted of the group forming a large circle on their boards out in the water, chanting the linebacker's name periodically and slapping their hands in the water. The event lasted around an hour and drew in nearly 1,200 spectators.
"It was pretty unbelievable that so many people came out to pay tribute," Brees said. "Junior truly was an inspiring person and somebody whose spirit will live forever.”
In the end, we will never truly know the 'whys' behind the passing of Seau, but like with the example of Brees and the other 200 surfers, we should forget the why and just focus on honoring the life of a man that touched so many others.
One's life should be judged on the quality of it, as opposed to the quantity, and Seau's was filled with more accomplishment than many see in a 100 years.
Photo Credit: Todd Kirkland/Icon SMI
James LeBeau is a sports contributor for CraveOnline Sports and you can follow him on Twitter @JleBeau76 or subscribe on Facebook.com/CraveOnlineSports.