Originally posted on Fox Sports Florida  |  Last updated 5/2/12
MIAMI News of Junior Seaus death hit the Miami Dolphins hard, but the news that Seaus death is being investigated as an apparent suicide hit even harder. Former Dolphins linebacker Zach Thomas said in a statement that Seau, a 12-time Pro Bowl selection, was his hero. You never heard one negative word come out of his mouth, Thomas said. Junior just had this energy that followed him around wherever he went, almost like theme music. It was like he never had a bad day. Former Dolphins wide receiver Oronde Gadsden also cited Seaus attitude as part of the reason everyone is puzzled by his death. I talked to the players that keep in touch Pat Surtain, Sam Madison and Tim Bowens, Gadsden said. They all recalled Seaus positive, energetic mindset during his three years with the Dolphins (2003-05). An apparent suicide is hard for them to reconcile. They dont mix, its like oil and water, Gadsden said. Exuberant, and hard-working, great football player, and then a suicide. You just come to understand you dont know whats going on in anybodys life for real. Seau, found dead in his Oceanside, Calif., home on Wednesday, started 15 games in the 2003 season, when Miami went 10-6. He had 66 tackles and six sacks. Over the next two years his production dropped dramatically as he only played in 15 games, starting 13. The Dolphins slumped to 4-12 and 9-7 records in 2004 and 2005, respectively. Seau signed with New England after his Dolphins years. Seau, who joined Miami after 13 seasons in San Diego was already a likely Hall of Famer when he moved to South Florida. But he never played to that status. At the time he came to the Dolphins everybody knows he may have lost a step, Gadsden said, but he still had that passion. And he endeared himself to everyone in the organization. Jason Taylor, the former Dolphins defensive endlinebacker, noted Seaus attitude in his statement, which said, in part, I'm shocked and saddened. Devastated, really. Junior was one of the most positive, uplifting people I have ever known. Taylor noted how Seau was fond of calling everyone buddy and said This is an immeasurable loss for so many. My heart and prayers go out to Junior's family, Gina and their children. I'm going to miss you buddy. Dave Wannstedt, who was Miamis head coach during Seaus years with the Dolphins, is now Buffalos defensive coordinator. Wannstedt called Seaus death tragic but, such as Gadsden, recalled Seaus enthusiasm. He brought a sense of renewed energy and a spirit to the field, off the field, in the weight room, just everywhere that Junior went and everyone that Junior was associated with, Wannstedts statement said, in part. He instilled a belief that we hadnt reached our potential and that we could be better, and he would find a way to help make that happen. Dolphins CEO Mike Dee acknowledged Seaus charitable works and his personality in a statement on behalf of the organization. Whether it was in San Diego, South Florida, New England or everywhere else in between, Junior loved putting a smile on a childs face during his Shop with a Jock program, or during one of his countless school visits. He made a difference to so many people in so many places, the statement said. But it seemed no one took the death as hard as Thomas, who ended his statement by saying, I am absolutely devastated to hear this news. Today I lost my hero, my friend, my buddy."
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