New England Patriots linebacker Junior Seau addresses the media during his press conference at Gillette Stadium on Friday, December 5, 2008.
Q: Bill [Belichick] just said that you are probably the only player that could go from surfboard to the football field. What did it take for you to get back out here?
JS: It is definitely 'the surf to the turf' in a different manner. What it took was a coach that you respect made a call to come out help guys that you have a lot of love for. Obviously, there is a lot of history here with us. It wasn't a hard decision. You care for the guys in this locker room and you care for the coach and this organization. That is the only reason why I am here.
Q: What do you see in this football team right now?
JS: I see that we have an opportunity to win this week. That is what I see. It is going to be one week at a time and one day at a time. The only thing that I know is that we have a walkthrough that I had to fly down for from the West Coast to make, which was funny. Obviously, we are going to go back to the West Coast and play Seattle. That is one thing I know – we are playing Seattle.
Q: Do you feel you are cable of playing right away?
JS: We are going to do what is best for the team. It doesn't matter what I feel I can do. I am still brushing off the wax from the surfboard as you can tell. I have a pretty good tan. I think I will be losing that in the next two to three weeks. Other than that, it is going to be fun. I am excited to be here.
Q: What do you personally feel you are capable of doing right now to help this team?
JS: I am here just as a number right now. I don't know what they have in store in terms of implementing me into the scheme, or what have you. I will definitely talk to Coach Belichick to see how much he wants me to play this week, if he wants me to play any. I am just going in there and cramming, doing a crash course for things that would happen this week.
Q: What is it going to take for you to be ready to play after being out for a while?
JS: The game of football is something that we respect for so many reasons. To be in football shape, it takes a lot. For someone to come in here and say 'I am ready to play' after being out of cleats for nine months, he would be lying to you. Therefore, I am not going to say that. There are going to be times where if I am able to help, we are going to have to manage that. It is going to take a while before I really get into the groove. We will see what happens.
Q: Outside of surfing, what have you been doing to stay in shape?
JS: To stay in shape I have been carrying a cooler, cutting up oranges for my daughter [Sydney Beau], [watching] volleyball games and football games and watching my son play football. I am really enjoying the fruits of our labor. It has been good, now we have to cut that and now we are back to football.
Q: What are your impressions of the Patriots right now?
JS: We are in the run. We are in a grind. It is the month of December and this is when football really stands out. This is when great football needs to be played. It is no different. I have been in this game for 18 years and now 19. The best football games will be played in December and you have to be ready for it.
Q: Is it weird at all going from taking care of your kids and watching them play sports to all of sudden be back in football?
JS: I have no time to get all drama. I just don't. I don't want to go 'Oprah' on you. It is what it is. I was cutting up oranges for a cooler for Sydney Beau Seau. Now I am here putting on cleats. That is life. You have to make an adjustment and you have to make it quick.
Q: How much have you been following the Patriots this season?
JS: I have been following them. I am a big fan. Now I am part of the team again. Now it is time for me to insert myself in many ways. That is going to take place today, tomorrow and the days ahead.
Q: What are your thoughts on rookie linebacker Jerod Mayo?
JS: I like him. I like the young crew. They are out there running around. They are very athletic. They are doing a heck of a job for the first year that they are in. I tip my hat off to them. I am going to help them in any way possible.
Q: Is it kind of ironic that Rosie [Rosevelt Colvin] comes back on Wednesday and you are back today?
JS: Rosie is a laugh. It was so nice seeing Rosie. We kept in touch during training camp when he was with Houston [Texans]. It is nice to have Rosie back.
Q: Did you miss the game?
JS: I didn't have time to. I really haven't. I didn't get one year of so-called retirement. It is not time. It is not time to miss it. It is time to enjoy it.
Q: A lot of people might wonder why you are coming back after you were enjoying life back home. Why did you do it?
JS: Like I said to start to this off – it is because I have a lot of respect for a coach by the name of Bill Belichick and I have a lot of love for the guys in this locker room. That is the only reason I am here. He called me up and said he needed some help. Well, I am here so let's see what we can do.
Q: Before today, did you have it in the back of your mind that there was still a chance you might play this season?
JS: I didn't hand in my [retirement] papers. I didn't think the NFL wanted to hear another retirement speech. I kind of held on to that. Here we are. I think I made the right decision in that.
Q:Was there only one team you would come back for?
JS: There is only team. There is only one team that I would play for. The reason being is because of obviously the close ties and the ties that we have and how we built those ties is very special. Very special.
Q: Are you surprised that you were able to build those ties in only two seasons?
JS: No, the journey in which we had is something that is going to last forever. That is something special to have No. 1 but to be part of that is something that you can't erase. It was real and we all felt that.
Q: Did you keep in touch with a lot of guys on the team?
JS: Yeah, I kept in touch with a lot of guys but when you are out there on the West Coast and you have a family, you are really into a different mode. You are taking kids to practice, going to games, cutting up apples and oranges and really enjoying it. I had a lot of times to surf - a lot of time. I didn't know there were so many hours in a day to tell you the truth. To be back here and have a schedule…Stacey [James] was walking me over here and I said 'I am not use to this. I normally have my own schedule.' I am being told what to do here and there. We have meetings, which is something I never liked. We are on a schedule now and it is not mine.
Q: How excited are you to be back here with the Patriots?
JS: It is fun to be here. It is a great honor to be almost 40 years old and get a call from one of the better coaches in the history of the game and be part of one of the best organizations. To have that call to a guy like me, I am humble – very humble.
Q: You said there was only on team you would come back to play for but did other teams contact you?
JS: No, no one wanted a 40-year-old. Are you kidding me [laughter]? In order for them to have that, it wouldn't fit. There is something here that we did last year that we trust can happen again. That all this decision is about – trusting each other with what you do on the field, in the locker room and outside the ball park. That is why I am here.