Junior Seau Remembered by Football Fans
If you know anything about Junior Seau the football player, the moniker he developed at USC and as a bruising linebacker for the San Diego Chargers “Say Ow” was perfectly appropriate. But I met Seau at his restaurant as he was at the height of his football fame when he was nothing but a gracious host and accommodating interviewee.
One of my first assignments while in college and interning in San Diego one summer was to cover the blossoming restaurant Seau built with his name. Walking into “Seau” it looked like a wing in the Pro Football Hall of Fame with iconic pictures, jerseys and memorabilia that would make any sports fan wistful in reminiscing.
Now-a-days many athletes use their name recognition to create restaurants and capitalize on their fame. Seau was a pioneer in that. Any given night you’d find a steady stream of players enjoying the atmosphere and lots of food. And you were almost guaranteed to find the man whose name was etched in bright lights above the door.
Seau sat with this young reporter one night to discuss business and his commitment to the San Diego community, his intentions to help young players become business men and his ideas to expand his restaurant into a great gathering place of football fans and regular folk alike. He wanted people to be connected and enjoy whatever they could learn from one another.
And while Seau, on the field, left running backs routinely in heaps of pain, his restaurant and presence off the field left people with smiles and fond memories.
I’ll always remember his attentiveness to my questions and thoughtful answers to a young intern who was very much in awe of the football player in front of me, and had no idea I would come to appreciate the man just as much.