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Former NFL star, Dolphins LB Junior Seau passes

Junior Seau has passed away at age 43.

The former linebacker for the Chargers, Dolphins and Patriots was found this morning in his San Diego area home with a gunshot wound to the chest. The North County Times is citing unnamed sources in reporting Seau's death is an apparent suicide.

Seau played for the Dolphins from 2003-2005. His time with Miami was primarily one riddled with injuries. It was the least successful of his NFL stops as he was an impact player for the San Diego Chargers for 13 years and later helped the Patriots reach the Super Bowl during his stint there.

Named Tiana Baul "Junior" Seau when he was born in Jan. 19, 1969, Seau was drafted fifth overall by the Chargers in the 1990 draft.

He was a local legend in San Diego, first at Oceanside High School, where he lettered in football, basketball and track and field. He earned recognition as a league MVP and was named by Parade Magazine to its high school All-American Team.

Seau played collegiately down the road in Los Angeles at the University of Southern California.

He was named to the Pro Bowl 12 times and made the league's list of All-Pro starts for 10 years. Seau was traded to the Dolphins on April 16, 2003 for a fifth-round draft pick.

In October 2010, problems in Seau's life became clear following a bizarre automobile accident. On Oct. 18, he drove his SUV off an embankment in Carlsbad and was hospitalized with minor injuries.

Seau told police he fell asleep hours after he was arrested on a felony domestic violence allegation and released, police said.

The Dolphins are aware of Seau's passing. The club is forming a statement.

[Update: Dolphins CEO has tweeted a statemet: “We are stunned and saddened at the passing of Junior Seau. During his time with the Dolphins he made a unique contribution to the team and the South Florida community.

“Junior was a fierce competitor whose passion and work ethic lifted his teammates to greater heights. His enthusiasm for the game was infectious and he passed that on to everyone who was around him. He loved the game so much, and no one played with more sheer joy.

“Beyond his accomplishments on the field, though, he was as well known for his charitable accomplishments to help those less fortunate than himself, especially kids. Whether it was in San Diego, South Florida, New England or everywhere else in between, Junior loved putting a smile on a child’s 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.

"Junior was one-of-a-kind. The league will never see anyone like him again. He will be missed, and on behalf of the Miami Dolphins we want to extend our condolences to his family.”]