Junior Seau was the quintessential NFL linebacker, a motivational leader, and loved by many people.  Yesterday his life was tragically cut short when he was found dead in his Oceanside, California home with a self-inflicted gun shot wound to his chest, in an apparent suicide.

Seau had a brilliant career in the NFL playing for 13 season and participating in 2 Super Bowls.  Seau was a 10 time All-Pro, a 12 time Pro Bowl  selection, and was a member of the NFL'S  1990's all Decade Team.  He spent the majority of his career playing for the Chargers from 1990 until 2002.  He then departed to Miami to play for the Dolphins.  After a 3 year tenure with the Dolphins Seau retired.  He returned to football and went on to finish his career with the New England Patriots, retiring for good in 2009.

Seau's apparent suicide has boggled the minds of his family, friends, and fans.  Seau joins a list of recent former NFL players to commit suicide.  Former Atlanta Falcons Center Ray Easterling shot himself in his Virginia home last month.  Former Chicago Bear Dave Duerson shot himself in his Florida home last year.  What do all of these players have in common?  They all played in the NFL and received numerous concussions, and it was determined that they all had suffered from neurodegenerative disease.

This disease is when you lose nueron structure in your brain and is linked to concussions.  Both Seau and Duerson shot themselves in the chest.  Duerson purposely shot himself in the chest so that his family could donate his brain for scientific research.  There is a link between brain injuries and depression.  It is possible that these former NFL players all had severe depression linked to their concussions that they sustained in the NFL, leading to their suicides.

The NFL is notorious for covering up injuries, and since winning is so important most if not all teams allow their injured players to return to the field way too soon.  Players' health should always be the number one concern, but is it really?  The problem is that the NFL, like so many things in life, is a what have you done for me lately league.  Coaches and owners have one common goal in mind and very few people consider what their lives will be like once they retire.

One thing is for certain, football is a tough sport that takes a brutal toll on the human body.  When it comes to getting hit in the head, there are only so many precautions that football teams can take to ensure their players' safety.  The game is dangerous and that will never change.  It is sad that some former players have committed suicide, perhaps with further scientific study of players' neurological activity, further precautions can be taken to ensure that this does not become a common trend.