A near-capacity crowd was expected to join Junior Seau’s former teammates and NFL opponents in celebrating his life at Qualcomm Stadium on Friday evening, the U-T San Diego reported.
A lineup of speakers will share their memories of the former San Diego Chargers linebacker at the event, hours after his family’s own private funeral service.
Officials said the crowd could swell to 60,000 at the free public tribute in San Diego, which was being funded by the Chargers.
The "celebration of life" memorial service was expected to last around 90 minutes after kicking off at 6:30pm local time.
Former Chargers greats Dan Fouts, Rodney Harrison and LaDainian Tomlinson were expected to address the crowd from the west end of the stadium.
Former Chargers head coach Bobby Ross, former NFL safety John Lynch and San Diego mayor Jerry Sanders also were tipped to pay tribute, while former Chargers defensive back Miles McPherson will host the ceremony in his role as pastor of The Rock Church in San Diego.
John Elway and Peyton Manning were flying in from Denver on a plane donated by Broncos owner Pat Bowlen for the event, along with Broncos coach John Fox and defensive line coach Wayne Nunnely, The Denver Post reported.
Seau, who played in the NFL for 20 seasons, was found dead by his girlfriend inside their home in Oceanside, near San Diego, last Wednesday, with a gunshot wound to his chest.
His death was ruled a suicide, and his family was still deciding whether to donate his brain to researchers who are looking into the long-term neurological effects of multiple concussions on former NFL players.
The family’s private service Friday morning will be held at Calvary Chapel in Oceanside.