Junior Seau's new contract calls for a $1 million base salary this season and a $3 million signing bonus spread out over four years. Seau will earn about $6 million for 2003 in total compensation, between bonuses and base salary. The Chargers will pick up about $2 million of the $2.7 million roster bonus owed to Seau.
The real motivation for the Chargers dealing Seau now is the cap savings they will see next season. Seau had a cap figure of over $7 million. Chargers Head Coach Marty Schottenheimer claimed different goals:
"We had two objectives from the start," said Schottenheimer. "Most important, we gave Junior a voice in the process and helped him settle with a team of his choice. We also acquired value for the Chargers in the form of a draft selection for the future. In my mind, we accomplished our goals.
"We ask ourselves one question regarding every decision that affects this football team: Will this decision help us become a championship football team? That's the motivation as well as the deciding factor behind every decision we make."
"It's obvious to everyone that our production on defense a year ago was not what it needs to be," continued the head coach. "This decision provides an opportunity for some of our young linebackers to show what they can do. We have to look at our football team tomorrow as well as our football team today."
Meanwhile in Miami:
"At this time I'd like to welcome him to the Miami Dolphins," Miami Head Coach Dave Wannstedt said. "We have a jersey made up. Everything is ready. No. 55, welcome."
"Thank you, Coach. I'm going to hold on to this just in case you want to take it back," Seau began.
"Hello, Miami. First off, I'd like to start by sending prayers to John Butler and his family. John Butler was the general manager of ours in San Diego, passed away. He was a great man, a great mind in football, passionate about the game that we love. He's going to be dearly missed.
"I want to thank the City of San Diego. I want to thank the San Diego Chargers. I want to thank the Chargers fans for 13 great, memorable years. I want them to know that I wish them well - except for October 27th. That's going to be a big day. We're going to play them. Until then, we're going to be okay."
One second Seau was all class the next he sounded as if he was searching for a way out of San Diego for the past few years.
"I'm going to tell you the truth. The truth is that Junior Seau needed the Miami Dolphins more than the Miami Dolphins needed Junior Seau."
When asked to expand on that comment Seau responded, "Junior Seau was unemployed. So, definitely, I honestly believe that Junior Seau needed the Miami Dolphins more than they needed me."
There is still reason to believe something could have been worked out had Seau been willing.
A second later Seau is unwilling to talk about San Diego.
"I'm not willing to look back. You know, I am a Miami Dolphin. I'm part of this family. From here on out, my job is to look forward, to work forward, and to make sure that I do it with class, with integrity, with loyalty. That's what I intend to do."
Mere minutes later the reports become even more conflicted in Miami when he is asked about the October 27th meeting between the two teams.
"It's funny. My son's birthday is on October 27th," Seau responded. "I get to go out and blow some candles with him. Other than that, if you want to dramatize that, I'll let Norv Turner answer those questions. He was fired by them, too."
It is not hard to see his heart has been torn apart. Emotions ran high during the press conference and Seau could not hold his customary grace.
At the same time he talks down about the team, he will always be about the fans.
"San Diego, the City of San Diego, all the fans in San Diego, they know where my home is, Seau said. "San Diego is always going to be my home. I have my foundation there. We raised money for the youth of San Diego. I have a business there. It's always going to be home.
"I am a Miami Dolphin today and hopefully forever. This will always be a page in my life. I look forward to working for them."
Chargers President Dean Spanos had this to say: "The day Junior finally decides to hang up his cleats will be the day we honor him as one of the greatest – if not THE greatest – defensive player in our history. Though his last game may not be in a Chargers uniform, to me he will always be a San Diego Charger."
Junior Seau Speaks Out
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