Less than a week into his retirement, Junior Seau decided he wasn't quite ready to call it quits. The 37-year old "graduated" from the NFL as he put it on Monday, and entered grad school when he returned on Friday.
"I didn't have a retirement party," Seau said of the celebration the Chargers threw in his honor Monday. It was a graduation party. I'm going after my masters now."
Seau was outwardly excited at the prospects of playing for the Patriots and in a Bill Belichick defense. "When a championship team calls, you definitely have to answer the call and look into it and that's exactly what I did."
The Patriots perennial playoff appearances were a key element in Seau's decision to return. He did not want to just play another year; he wanted to play for a contender.
"I believe that they have great plans here and there's a chance to win something big here and we're going to go for it," Seau said. "There's a lot of things that come into play when it comes to my role of deciding to come back in the National Football League after two days of retirement. Number one it was basically a team that has an opportunity and a role I can play, that I can contribute to the opportunity of winning a championship. "
Having a coach noted as one of the great defensive geniuses in the NFL carried a lot of weight for Seau. In three seasons with the Dolphins, Seau played against the Patriots and saw first-hand what a Belichick defense can do.
"[The Patriots] can throw a lot of wrinkles at you with Belichick leading the way, he's obviously the mastermind of defense," Seau said. "That was one of the big keys of me coming back here and kind of getting under the belt of Belichick and the New England Patriots."
Seau is expected to see playing time as part of the rotation at inside linebacker, a position he is thoroughly familiar with. Linebackers Monty Beisel, Freddie Roach and Tedy Bruschi are all nursing various injuries, leaving the inside linebacker position thin. Seau admitted he wasn't sure which role the team would ask him to fulfill, but that it would be one that had benefits for both the team as well as himself.
"There are going to be like two positions that I obviously can play and I've played them all," Seau explained. "Wherever I fit, it's going to be something to their liking and mine."
The 12-time pro-bowler has played for the San Diego Chargers (1990-2002) and Miami Dolphins (2003-05). He has appeared in 230 games with 227 starts. Over the course of his career he has amassed 1,724 career tackles, 52 sacks, 15 interceptions, 93 passes defended, 12 forced fumbles and 17 fumbles recoverd.
Seau was originally drafted by the Chargers in the first round of the 1990 NFL Draft (5th overall). He was traded to the Miami Dolphins on April 16, 2003 in exchange for a fifth-round draft choice
Tight End Luzar Signed
The team also announced the signing of veteran tight end Chris Luzar. The 6-foot-7-inch, 262-pound Virginia product appeared in 23 games with one start during his first two seasons. As a member of the Jacksonville Jaguars, Luzar managed four receptions for 35 yards. Luzar, 27, was originally drafted by the Jacksonville Jaguars in the fourth round of the 2002 NFL draft (118th overall). He was released by the Jaguars on November 3, 2004 and signed by the New York Giants on January 21, 2005. He managed no stats for the 2005 season.
Tight End Rasby Released
The Patriots announced the release of tight end Walter Rasby on Friday August18, 2006. The 6-foot-3, 252-pound veteran signed with the Patriots on July 28, 2006 when the team needed an extra body at training camp. Rasby knew his chances of sticking to the roster were slim and was thankful for the opportunity to compete with the talented group.
"Lot of talent here," said Rasby, of the tight ends on the roster. "Two first-round picks and -- what? -- a third- and a fourth-(rounder) or something like that? Crazy talent here, man."
Rasby, 33, started 69 of 144 games and managed 64 career receptions for 584 yards and five touchdowns.