August 14, 2006

San Diego favorite Seau retires

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Linebacker Junior Seau retired from
the National Football League on Monday, ending a 16-year career
that featured 12 Pro Bowl selections.

Seau starred with his hometown San Diego Chargers for 13
seasons and played the last three years with the Miami
Dolphins, and he elected to end his career at a farewell press
conference in San Diego on Monday.

"I don't look at it as a retirement," Seau told reporters.
"I look at it as a graduation.

"I'm graduating to wherever I'm going to go to next. I'm
the one that got the true gift, the true gift of understanding
what actually transpires between the lines."

The 37-year-old Seau has been injured for most of the past
two seasons with the Dolphins and was released by the club in
March after missing 17 games in two seasons and ending both
years on the injured reserve list.

Known for his trademark fist pump which he employed with
virtually every tackle and sack he made, Seau was one of the
NFL's top linebackers for many years and helped the Chargers to
their lone Super Bowl appearance in 1995.

Seau had hoped to formally retire as a Charger, but the
team was unable to clear a roster spot for him so he could sign
a one-year contract before retiring.

He was dealt to the Dolphins for a fifth-round draft pick
after the 2003 season when it was apparent he was starting to
slow down.

Seau will always be remembered as a Charger, however, as he
grew up in suburban Oceanside, starred at Southern California
and was the fifth overall pick in the 1990 draft by San Diego.

(Writing by Roger Lajoie in Toronto)