RUMOR: Junior Seau Will Return To The Pats In 2007
Buzz: 38-year old veteran linebacker Junior Seau plans to return to the playing field in 2007, and he has his sights set on the Patriots as his final destination. A recent report in a San Diego paper claims Seau will return pending a physical. Seau's locker is still intact at Gillette, a clear indication he intends to return.
Reality: The San Diego Union-Tribune ran an article Saturday citing unnamed sources indicating that all Seau had to do was to pass a physical this week and he would be back on the team's roster. PatriotsInsider.com was at New England's rookie minicamp Saturday morning. One look at Seau's locker was enough to give even the casual observer reason to believe the veteran backer would return.
Junior Seau's Locker during Patriots minicamp May 12, 2007 (Photo PatriotsInsider.com)
Impact: The Patriots did not select any of the top linebackers they had taken an interest in prior to the NFL Draft. While it's widely believed that the 2008 crop of draft eligible players will provide better value, the Patriots needed to build depth on their defense this season. The acquisition of free agent Adalius Thomas (Ravens) went a long way to adding talent to an aging, but talented group of savvy linebackers in Tedy Bruschi, Mike Vrabel and Rosevelt Colvin. Despite adding Thomas, the Patriots sorely needed to add depth to the roster at the position.
When Seau was with the team in 2006, he was among the team leaders in tackles through the first part of the season. He finished with 69 tackles (39 solo), 1 sack and one pass defensed before breaking his forearm against the Chicago Bears November 26th. Yet despite missing the final 5 games of the season, Seau was New England's 5th leading tackler.
Adding Seau to the veteran linebacker rotation will allow New England to have Thomas, Vrabel and Colvin man the outside position while Bruschi and Seau man the middle. It will give the team much needed, experienced depth while the younger linebackers on the roster get time to learn behind another knowledgeable veteran.
2007 Seventh-round draft choice Oscar Lua, a USC grad, can't wait to learn under Seau (his childhood idol). The team also selected Justin Rogers (SMU) in the fifth round of the Draft, although Rogers is projected as an outside backer. Corey Mays (ILB) and Pierre Woods return as second year players, while Larry Izzo mans his position as special teams ace and reserve backer.