SAN DIEGO (CBS) — Thousands of friends, fans, coaches and Hall of Fame football players attended a memorial service held Friday evening for Junior Seau.
Jeff Nguyen reported that Qualcomm Stadium was filled “and it’s not even football season.”
Amid fans screaming “We love you,” friends and former players spoke to reporters and recalled Seau’s charisma and smile.
When Seau’s parents arrived at the arena, they got a standing ovation from the crowd.
Hall of Famer Dan Fouts told a funny story about first meeting Seau, the standout from USC and the San Diego Chargers. “I asked him how he pronounced his name. And he said ‘Say-Owww’ because when I tackle someone, they…say…owwww.”
Legendary quarterback John Elway and new Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning were also on hand to pay their respects — even though they weren’t Seau teammates.
Former Chargers coach Bobby Ross said, “Some people are leaders by what they do, others by what they say. Junior was a double whammy.”
Former teammate LaDanian Tomlinson took the opportunity to thank Seau’s parents. He touched many lives, said Tomlinson, “because of the things you taught him.”
Seau’s son, Tyler, fondly recalled his father for touching lives beyond just his family. “It’s truly amazing, the impact he had on so many.”
Seau was known for calling everyone he met, “Buddy.” Friend John Lynch led the crowd in a hello to “Buddy. I love it. And I know he’s smiling.”
During the ceremony, Seau’s #55 was officially retired.