Seau gets off surfboard for 1 more NFL run
Junior Seau already was lifting weights when Tom Brady showed up at 6:45 a.m. A few hours later, Seau walked into the locker room and high-fived Randy Moss. On his first full day back with the New England Patriots on Wednesday, the 40-year-old linebacker with a love of surfing and a loyalty to coach Bill Belichick showed what he can bring: hard work and a passionate style. The vocal leader and 12-time Pro Bowl player knows that this is just another beginning - the third time he's come out of retirement - so he wants to produce before letting his emotions loose. "I'm too old to be excited," said Seau, who signed Tuesday. "I'm too old to jump up for joy. I know that the only way this is all going to be exciting to anyone, (is) if it works." But defensive captain and inside linebacker Jerod Mayo, who plays the same position as Seau, is excited to have him back. "While he is here, I'm going to try to learn as much as I can and try to get the rest of the guys to learn as much as they can," said Mayo, last year's NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year who was 4 when Seau was a rookie. Seau has done a lot while the Patriots got off to a 3-2 start. He's taken his children to their own games and recorded episodes of "Sports Jobs With Junior Seau" for the Versus network. So far, he's been a ballboy for the Los Angeles Dodgers, a caddy on the LPGA tour and a performer in a rodeo in which he got knocked down by a bull. "I gave it a juke right. He looked at me and goes, 'Nuh uh.' I gave him a juke left and the bull said, 'Saw that one, too,"' Seau said. "That had nothing to do with show biz. That was real. I have the bruises to show you." Brady knows what it's like to try to evade ferocious attackers who try to flatten him. "It's probably pretty similar to those bulls," he said. "Junior's kind of crazy though. That's why he's in the bull ring." He's also in great shape. "Working out in the morning at 5:30 is a norm for me," Seau said. "It's my way of gathering up and regrouping and reconnecting, so that's never going to change. ... You don't need to give me kudos for working out. That's part of my life." Seau first retired before the 2006 season after 13 years with San Diego and three with Miami. Four days later, he signed with New England. He played 11 games in 2006 before breaking his arm. He played 16 games in 2007 and retired again. But when injuries struck the linebacking corps, he was back for the final four games last season. Seau stayed in touch with the Patriots, the only team he said he would play for. So when Belichick asked him to return, he was ready, although he said he would have thought "otherwise" if he already had a Super Bowl ring. "The best thing I do is I lean on Bill Belichick," Seau said. "Bill doesn't kick around tires and say, 'I'm just going to go and grab a guy that's 40 years old, off the surfboard, and say to come join us.' He has a plan. "I trust Bill. Because I trust Bill, I'm here today." Seau is even willing to play Sunday against the Tennessee Titans. "Whatever Bill needs," he said. There are few current players older than Seau. Even Brett Favre is nine months younger. So the native of Oceanside, Calif., skipped training camp and could have been fine without football. "It's not tough to leave the game," Seau said. "I'm not going to cry about cutting up oranges and apples and packing a cooler and going to a football game, my son's football game, or my daughter's volleyball games, and heading home and surfing for three hours, having a tuna sandwich and playing the ukulele." Now he's rededicating himself to the Patriots. "He looks like he's 25," Brady said. "He's just a very excitable player. There's very few people that you can bring into the locker room at this stage that bring that type of leadership and experience that he has, and that can also still play very well, but he certainly can do that." So the surfer is back watching video, studying a playbook he already knows well and working out before dawn with players about half his age. "It's time to go to work," Seau said. "Give me a helmet and let's build a player that I can be this year. That's all I ask."