Less than a month ago, Junior Seau got run over by a bull.
Not figuratively, either. He was literally run over by a bull. There's video of it online. Just do a YouTube search.
"That had nothing to do with show biz ... That was real," said Seau. "I have the bruises to show for it."
Maybe he felt it was a smarter move to try to tackle animals his own size. On Wednesday, he officially rejoined the New England Patriots, adding depth, talent – even at age 40 – and considerable enthusiasm to the team's linebacker corps.
Exactly what and how big a role Seau will play in his fourth go-round with the Pats remains to be seen. But Seau is certain of at least one thing – head coach Bill Belichickhas a plan for him.
"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," he continued. "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."
Seau has said repeatedly that he would only return to the NFL if it was with Belichick and the Patriots. He explained Wednesday why he would give up surfing and sunning himself in southern California for this team and not the other 31 in the NFL.
"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," Seau replied. "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."
His Patriots teammates seem to trust Seau as well. Walking through the locker room this morning, Seau exchanged high-fives and his trademark "Hey, buddy" greeting with players and media alike. His unyielding energy is contagious.
"You know, I was in there lifting weights. I walked in at 6:45, and he was already in there in like a full sweat," QB Tom Bradytold reporters. "He hasn't changed at all. He brings a lot of energy to the team and excitement. Attitude is everything with Junior. He's a great professional and he shows great leadership. And he's a playmaker. He's a guy that, there's only one of him. There's only one of him that's ever played and I'm glad he's back on the team."
"Junior has a great approach to football," added Belichick. "He has got a lot of energy. He has a lot of enthusiasm for the game. I don't think I have coached too many players … that are any more passionate than Junior is. So I think that's good for all of us. It's good for him, it's good for all the players, it's good for the coaches, it's good for the team."
Wednesday locker room/practice notes
Four players were absent from Wednesday's practice: RB Fred Taylor, LT Matt Light, WR Randy Moss, and DL Ty Warren.
Seau was back in his traditional #55 jersey, having convinced Derrick Burgessto surrender it. "I gave him a little hug, softened him up … but it's going to take a couple of dinners," Seau explained. Burgess switched to #53, which had been rookie LB Tyrone McKenzie's, but he's out for the year on IR and wouldn't be using it this year anyway.
The team practiced in shells and sweat pants on a brisk, post-card perfect autumn day here in Foxborough.
No practice-player-of-the-week jerseys were awarded this week, as is customary after a loss.