Junior Seau's Tragic Suicide Reminds Us That Athletes Are People Too

FOXBORO, MA - AUGUST 19: Junior Seau #55 of the New England Patriots smiles from the sidelines as his team plays the Arizona Cardinals during their pre season game on August19, 2006 at Gillette Stadium in Foxboro, Massachusetts. According to reports May 2, 2012, Seau, 43, was found dead in his home in Oceanside, California. (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)

Junior Seau's tragic suicide offers us a painful reminder that, even though we idolize and adore athletes, under all of that padding, they are regular people too.

Athletes are placed on pedestals so quickly in our society. You don't even have to hang around long, or even be good. If you are fortunate enough to play even one game for a professional sports team, you are instantly thrust into a whole new level of ridiculous stardom.

People idolize athletes, but we often forget that they are just people too. They may be getting paid an absurd amount of money to play a sport, but underneath that padding, they're regular people with regular problems. Just like you and me.

Junior Seau's death, which is being investigated as a suicide, and it's another painful reminder that the much beloved Seau had his problems, too. What would cause a man who loved his job so much and always seemed to be wearing a smile to take his own life? We may never know.

Shock and sadness are what most are feeling regarding Seau's death. Players, fans and reporters nationwide are sharing memories and condolences. It's hard to imagine how this could happen.

And yet, the writing was on the wall. Seau drove his SUV off a cliff in October of 2010 following his arrest for the alleged assault of his girlfriend. Miraculously, Seau walked away with minor injuries. Despite speculation, Seau said he was not trying to kill himself and that he fell asleep.

Another issue taking the spotlight in Seau's death is the never ending problem of concussions. Seau suffered from concussions, as many football players do, during his storied NFL career. Did concussions play a role in Seau's suicide? That isn't known at this time, but it certainly is possible.

We don't know what caused Seau to end his life, but whatever the reason, it serves to remind us that teams need to pay more attention to the emotional well being of players, past and present.

Rest in peace, Junior. Patriots Nation thanks you for everything, as does the football world.

For additional New England Patriots coverage, visit our team page and blog, Pats Pulpit.

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