Junior Seau’s shocking death Wednesday adds another sad chapter to the increasingly tragic tale of the San Diego Chargers’ only Super Bowl team.
It has been barely 17 years since the 1994 Chargers lost, 49-26, to the San Francisco 49ers in Super Bowl XXIX. Yet eight players from that team have died, with Seau being the biggest name among them. None reached age 45.
"Everyone at the Chargers is in complete shock and disbelief right now,” the Chargers organization said in a statement after Seau’s death. “We ask everyone to stop what they’re doing and send their prayers to Junior and his family."
Seau suffered multiple concussions during his career and faced issues off the field after his retirement.
In October 2010, he survived a 100-foot plunge down a seaside cliff in his SUV. Seau had been arrested hours earlier on suspicion of domestic violence at the Oceanside home he shared with his girlfriend, who told authorities that Seau assaulted her during an argument. After suffering minor injuries in the accident, Seau explained that he fell asleep at the wheel and the accident wasn’t a suicide attempt.
Accidents, illness and the bizzare have all struck the 1994 Chargers. The tragic list:
• Linebacker David Griggs wrecked his car in Davie, Fla., in 1995. Tests showed he was legally drunk. He was 28.
• Running back Rodney Culver was killed in the ValuJet airplane crash in Florida in 1996. He was 26.
• Linebacker Doug Miller was struck by lightning in 1998 in Colorado. He was 28.
• Center Curtis Whitley died of a drug overdose in 2008. He was 39.
• Defensive end Chris Mims died from an enlarged heart in 2008. He was 38.
• Defensive lineman Shawn Lee suffered a heart attack in February 2011. He was 44.
• Linebacker Lew Bush also suffered a heart attack, in December 2011. He was 42.
• Seau died of a gunshot wound to the chest, which police are investigating as a suicide. He was 43.
The 1994 Chargers went 11-5 during the regular season. In the playoffs, they beat Miami at home and Pittsburgh on the road to reach the Super Bowl.