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Seau to highlight alumni weekend

Posted Nov 25, 2011

Former Chargers linebacker Junior Seau will become the 35th member of the team’s Hall of Fame at halftime of Sunday’s game between Denver and San Diego at Qualcomm Stadium.

SAN DIEGO – The Chargers will embrace one of their most prominent players ever Sunday, honoring former linebacker Junior Seau with a spot in the team’s Hall of Fame.

Seau will be inducted as the 35th member at halftime of the Denver game at Qualcomm Stadium.

“To be honored with that label and to be part of a unique group and a fraternity is definitely something special,” Seau said. “Honestly, I don’t think words can ever express it.”

Seau was named first-team All-Pro an astounding six times during his 13-year career with the Chargers. He earned 12 consecutive Pro Bowl selections in that time, making 1,396 tackles, 45.5 sacks and 14 interceptions. He also played seven seasons for Miami and New England, helping the Chargers and Patriots to AFC Championships.

“It’s really great to have Junior be part of the Hall of Fame here. He deserves it,” Chargers Chairman of the Board – Dean Spanos said. “The 13 years he played here, he really was the heart and soul of our team.”

The linebacker, likely the player most synonymous with the Bolts logo in the ’90s, recovered a fumble against Denver in the 1994 season opener that cemented an 18-point comeback and kick-started the journey toward San Diego’s lone Super Bowl appearance.

This time he’ll be front-and-center at halftime of a Broncos game. Hall of Fame quarterback Dan Fouts will introduce Seau, who will receive a Chargers Hall of Fame statue. Following Seau’s remarks, the team will unveil his banner in the Chargers’ Ring of Honor at Qualcomm Stadium.

Nearly 100 former players also will be introduced prior to kickoff as a part of the annual alumni weekend.

Sunday’s celebration of Seau’s career will mark the latest achievement in the city for the Oceanside High School product now focused on his involvement in San Diego’s restaurant and community service sectors.

“To be able to continue my profession in my hometown was not only unique but something that I will always cherish,” Seau said, calling Sunday’s ceremony potentially overwhelming. “You go through your journey and hope that someday you get a little love back and some respect. I don’t know how I’m going to react, I really don’t.”

Seau enjoys his Mission Valley restaurant, a fixture since July 1996, because it allows him to lead a team of men and women, a role he cherished during his NFL career.

But focused on finding something “that I can transition into carrying forward with the same attitude that I had on the football field for 20 years,” though, he’s channeled his passion toward the Junior Seau Foundation, which has awarded nearly $1 million in scholarships to college-bound students throughout San Diego County in the last 19 years.

Despite playing 20 years in the league at one of the highest-impact positions on defense, Seau’s body remains in remarkable health.

“To be able to surf and run and do the things I enjoy today just doesn’t happen every day,” Seau said.

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