It makes you just ache to read about it all over again, though I credit the author with doing a good job.
Jim Trotter, the former Union-Tribune NFL writer, who has found a special niche at ESPN, has just released his book on the life and tragedy that was Junior Seau.
A look at the player, the person, the charities, the escapades, the camradrie, the family, and the end result.
I can close my eyes and see Seau making plays all over the field. I hear the ferocity of the hits. I see the explosiveness of the runs to get to the ball carrier. I remember the emotion on the field, in the huddle, and on the sidelines.
Coaches talk about his love of all things football, his dedication to his craft, and the fun he enjoyed off the field.
The dark side was there, as a player, and obviously in post football life. We knew about his womanizing, his drinking, his gambling. But what was one going to do about it? It was his life, his decisions. Virtually everyone, from the media, to the NFL, to his football and personal family, and the police, always seemed to look the other way. I guess we will carry some guilt about that.
We didn’t know about the deterioration of his mental health, towards the end of his career, and then in his post-football life. The pain he suffered from, and the pain he inflicted on his family, wife-ex-wife Gina, and the kids.
It is evident he went ‘outside the circle’ of team doctors to get treatments for concussions. Clubs say they never knew. Someone with a medical background knew, for he was treated by others than just the Chargers-Dolphins and Patriots doctors.
The family had to know, but seemed helpless to step forward and get him help.
His inner circle of friends had to know, but did little or nothing, except to party with him, take advantage of him.
Jim Trotter has done a good job telling the across-the-board story, sad as it is, painful as it was. .
I read it and it flashbacked the book written just a couple of years ago by Jane Levy, a New York Times writer, about the deterioration of our boyhood hero, Mickey Mantle. A sad expose of his life falling into the abyss where his lifestyle ended his life.
At first I felt ‘tell all’ books were a betrayal. But maybe something good comes out of something so sad.
I guess we have to read the “Life and Death of a Football Icon”, the Seau book, much like we should probably read “The Last Boy”, the revelations about Mantle..
When the games are over, when the cheering stops, your favorite player has to go home and deal with the realities of life, injuries, family issues, money, abuses and addictions. .
You loved him on game-day, he surely stirred your football emotions. Now the book stirs up a different type of emotion, the Seau suicide and the whys and wherefores.
Jim Trotter brings it all back into focus.
I said it the day he died, and I believe it still this morning. Football was Junior Seau’s life. Football took Junior Seau’s life. And we ache in our heart because of it.