Fans have been wondering if former Patriots linebacker Junior Seau is going to return to New England this year. So have many in the media.
Since the late Dan Pires of the New Bedford Standard-Times first reported that Seau visited Foxboro to take a physical during the offseason and might rejoin the team, the watch has been on. Seau sightings, comments, and questions continue in New England, where the popular linebacker is believed to be making his return.
Over the Summer, Seau told San Diego radio that if he did come back, it would only be for the Patriots. Head Coach Bill Belichick even admitted that the return of Seau was a possibility as recently as the start of training camp.
When the Boston Globe reported that Seau's locker has been inhabited by rookie linebacker Jerod Mayo, after remaining empty all offseason, the hope for a Seau return diminished. The move was a clear indication that the team is moving on, probably without the San Diego native.
Bill Belichick addressed the Seau speculation during an interview on Boston radio, WEEI today.
I've talked to Junior, And I think Junior is staying in shape like he always is surfing out there, and managing his restaurant and enjoying San Diego and enjoying life like he always does," Said Belichick. "We've cut down to our 53-man roster and I don't know what's going to happen in the future. If the right situation was there I might contact Junior, I don't know what he would say at that point." Belichick made it clear the team's top priority isn't trying to sign a player like Seau, it's the week one opponent, Kansas City Chiefs.
"Right now that's not really a big concern for us. Our major concern is just taking the players we have and trying to improve this team and try to get them ready to go against Kansas City."
Reading into the coaches comments can always be dangerous. Takign him at his literal word, fans should take into account that the team is expectign to make mor eroster moves this week and next. Belichick said as much during that same interview. Whether those moves reunite the veteran linebacker with his former teammates remains to be seen.
The Patriots like their current makeup of young and older linebackers. Upsetting that mix may not be in the cards unless an injury necessitates a change. At that point -- as Belichick said -- Junior might get a call, and it's up to him whether or not it makes sense to return. There are thousands of Patriots fans just waiting to see No. 55 again. Even though his locker may be gone, his jersey remains unspoken for.
New England Patriots linebacker Junior Seau lies on the turf after New York Giants receiver Plaxico Burress scored a touchdown in the fourth quarter of the Super Bowl XLII football game at University of Phoenix Stadium on Sunday, Feb. 3, 2008, in Glendale, Ariz. The Giants won 17-14. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya)
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[Editors Note: This story was published as a rough draft, prior to editing. It has since been updated.]