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Seau saluted at memorial; No. 55 retired

May 12, 2012 at 11:29 AM   |   Comments

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SAN DIEGO, May 12 (UPI) -- Junior Seau's number will be retired, the San Diego Chargers announced at a public memorial for the former star linebacker who committed suicide last week.

Team President Dean Spanos told a crowd of several thousand fans at Qualcomm Stadium Friday No. 55 would be officially retired at a pre-game ceremony next season.

"Junior's accomplishments on the field speak for themselves," Spanos said. "His play on the field combined with his leadership and charisma became the face of this team for more than a decade. I can't think of anyone more deserving of this honor."

Seau would be only the third San Diego player to have his number retired, the team said in a written statement. The other two are Lance Alworth's No. 19 and No. 14, which was worn by Dan Fouts.

Fouts spoke at the memorial service, which drew about 20,000 fans. The Los Angeles Times said the star quarterback injected a solemn note to the event when he brought up the issue of mental health and suicide. "There's no hiding that Junior's passing is a tragedy," Fouts told the hushed crowd. "The lesson is: If you need help, get help, it's out there."

The Times said the ceremony honoring the hometown star featured former Chargers players, coaches and political leaders who took turns saluting Seau's illustrious 20-year career in the NFL and the contributions he made to the community.

© 2012 United Press International, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI's prior written consent.
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