New England Patriots linebacker Junior Seau addresses the media during his press conference at Gillette Stadium on Wednesday, October 7, 2009.
Q:Earlier in the season you talked about coming back later. At this point, it's a little earlier than you've been talking about...
JS:Well it's always going to be Bill's time. It always has been. Forecasting what happens in the National Football League and my career, I've learned after nineteen years of playing in this league, we really don't control that. I, basically in eight months, have been working out for a chance to make a choice. A chance I didn't have control of, Bill had control of. But the choice was to be prepared for that chance, so for eight months I have been training to receive a chance and to have a choice and here we are.
Q:How hard was it working out at that level knowing you might not have the chance to play?
JS:Now, let me help you with that. I said I worked out. That doesn't mean I worked out for...in the game of football, you really cannot train to be in football shape unless you have a helmet on and you have ten other guys shooting for your knees. But to be able to go through eight months of training to have a chance, it's tough. There's a lot of discipline in that, and I have a lot of great people surrounded me during that course and I definitely have to thank them. It's tough to do when you don't have a goal. For the first time in my career I was training for hope and a chance to obviously choose. It came out that obviously Bill made a call and here we are.
Q:What are your impressions of the team considering a lot of your teammates are much younger?
JS:There's a line-backing core that I have now that were probably in first grade when I was a rookie. So there's a lot of youth but they can play the game. So if there's anything that I can help them where either in the meeting room or whether it's in the weight room, whatever it may take, it's going to be fun playing with them, but we're definitely young.
Q:How tough is it to leave the game?
JS:It's not tough to leave the game. There's such a great lifestyle that you work so long for to enjoy. I'm not going to cry about cutting up oranges and apples and packing a cooler and going to a football game, my son's football game, or my daughter's volleyball games and heading home and surfing for three hours. Having a tuna sandwich and playing the eukalaly. There's nothing bad about that so I did not miss it. It's just part of my life. I love life challenges and I live for those moments. I live for those moments. This is a challenge. I can't forecast what's going to happen, just give me a helmet and we'll work on it.
Q:How did the bull manage to run you down?
JS:Guy's, [the bull weights] 2,000 pounds. I should have thought about it. I didn't say I was so smart – a smart person. That bull came at me I gave it a juke right, he looked at me and goes, 'nuh uh'. I gave him a juke left and the bull said, 'saw that one too.' I should have just done a Bruschi swim, but I didn't have the right technique. So I tried to eject and he caught me. He caught me. I was fortunate enough to get out of that, but it was definitely a moment in time that I will never forget. It was exciting. Being in that ring, in the rest of the ring with the bullfighters and bull riders – what they do every day, stepping in between the rider. You're stepping in between a rider and a 2,000-pound bull. Those are men. Those are men. I have a great respect for them. That had nothing to do with show biz. That was real. I have the bruises to show you.
Q:How can you best help this team? Is it on the field, off the field, is it both?
JS:On and off the field, the best thing I do is I lean on Bill Belichick. And the reason why I say that is that Bill doesn't kick around tires and say, 'I'm just going to go and grab a guy that's 40 years old, off the surf board, and say to come join us.' He has a plan. His plan is something that we're going to try and implement – whatever it may be. He knows who I am. I know what he has to offer. I trust Bill. Because I trust Bill, I'm here today. What am I going to do? How am I going to help the team? You know, I can't forecast that. I wish I could. If I could, I wouldn't be a football player. I wouldn't. Just give me a helmet, I guarantee you I'm going to be the best player that I can be today and we'll build from there.
Q:What can you show those players that were in first grade [when you started in the NFL]?
JS:I don't want to address them as first grade players. I mean, these guys work hard to be where they are and I respect them for who they are and what they've done. My job is to go in there and work, like I've worked for nineteen years, no different.
Q:With all the interesting sports jobs you had – filming the TV show – do you think this job is the one you've always been meant to have?
JS:Well "Sports Jobs", the show is basically me living the life of those that work behind the scenes. For the pro's to be pro's. So it's a different venue. I'm used to going out there and run around and jumping on a pile and pretend that I made a tackle, and there are people that come before all that to allow us to be able to do all that. I mean my trainers, my equipment managers, our field people that work on the field, our concession stands, all these people, security guards – there are so many people that work behind the scenes that don't get any love and I get to enjoy that. I get to give some of that back and say thank you for the nineteen years. But that's what our show's about
Q:Obviously you're in great physical shape, you work out and you passed the physical here, how curious are you in your own ability to maintain the high level of play that this franchise has a history of and that you're used to individually?
JS:I'm not worried about that. If I was worried about that I wouldn't be here today. One thing I know is that you can't coach courage. You can't. You give me a B, an A gap, I'm going through there until I break glass. I will go through the A and B gap until I break glass and that's what I do. I'm not afraid of whether or not I'm going to bring to the table a level that I had twenty years ago; that's not going to happen. Again, back to the box, the box is basically what Bill needs. He'll tell me what it is. If I got to be a plumber today, I'll be a plumber. Whatever it may be; I'm just here to help.
Q:With that being said, if he says he needs you this Sunday, can you go right away?
JS:Again, whatever Bill needs, whatever Bill needs.
Q:Tom Brady said that he came in here early to the weight room to do his lift and he saw you in a full sweat. What time did you get here and how eager were you to get into that weight room and put on that sweat?
JS:Working out in the morning at 5:30 is a norm for me. That's part of my day. That's just not here in New England. It's not part of me because of the National Football League. I've done that for nineteen years and that's never going to change. Allowing myself to get up in the morning and enjoying a work out to treat me, is a quiet time. It's my way of gathering up and regrouping and reconnecting, so that's never going to change. It's so nice being up in the morning and a lot of the players are in there. A lot of the players are in there. So, you don't need to give me kudos for working out, that's part of my life.
Q:No, I'm just saying to you, was there any eagerness, added eagerness to, 'Hey, I'm going to be doing it now, in the Patriots locker room.'
JS:You know everyone asks are you eager, are you excited. I'm too old to be excited. Can I say that? I am. I'm too old to jump up for joy. I know that the only way this is all going to be exciting to anyone, [is] if it works, if it works. The challenge is what we do from here on out. I'm not going to blow out the cake and jump around. This isn't the time to do that. It's time to go to work. Give me a helmet and let's build a player that I can be this year. That's all I ask.
Q:You said before this is the only team you would come back for. What makes this team different than the other thirty-one?
JS:Easy. I know the system. I trust the coach and the ownership and the coaches in this organization and I have a lot of love for the players in the locker room. That's the reason why I wanted to come back to only one team. It has nothing to do with the San Diego Chargers being a hometown team. I wouldn't be able to give the San Diego Chargers what they need because I don't know the locker room. There's so many things that I don't know, that are so unknown, to give me a chance to help them perform at a high level and I trust this coach, Bill Belichick.
Q:How much longer can you keep doing this?
JS:Tell Bill stop calling and I won't answer.
Q:So if he called next year...?
JS:Tell Bill, that it's day by day. You can close it by not calling me. Let me surf, I won't be back.
Q:Would you be here today if you had won a ring already?
JS:If I had a ring in place, I would probably think otherwise. I would probably think otherwise. There are so many things that evolve to the decision that I made to coming back.
Q:What are your impressions of Jerod Mayo?
JS:Jerod Mayo, the sky's the limit for the kid. The sky's the limit. He's the leader on this defense and [Gary] Guyton's doing a heck of a job in the middle. We have two great linebackers up and coming.
Q:How can you help them?
JS:One day at a time. I can help them all one day at a time. I can't forecast that. For me to talk about what I'm going to do, you would never get that out of me. You won't. Just give me a helmet and let me work.
Q:There's been a lot of talk about inconsistency with this team, you've watched them from a far, you come back with an opportunity, you say to win a ring, but you see that as being a goal still here?
JS:Let me just clear that question up. He's asking about the inconsistency of what's been going on. We're going to forget about everything that happened in the past. We're going forward. We're going forward. It's a new day; it's a new challenge.
Q:But do you see this as a viable team that can win?
JS:It's a new day, a new challenge. The ultimate goal is what? To win a ring. That's the ultimate goal. Are we? No, we don't know that. That's part of a forecast. Everyone should have that goal, but whatever has happened in the past, whether it's good or bad, what you have to do in this league, one thing you have to do in this league is have short term memory. When you're good, cut it off, real quick. Next day there's a different challenge. You do bad. You do the same thing. You do the same thing. Be consistent, and with that, you'll make it in this league.