Friday, August 18 2006 @ 06:55 AM CDT
Even as the San Diego Chargers were throwing him a lavish retirement party, Junior Seau couldn't commit to calling it a career.
Now it's clear that the 12-time Pro Bowl linebacker didn't really want to say goodbye.
The Chargers said Thursday that Seau was preparing to end his retirement after just three days, confirming a report that he may sign with the New England Patriots.
"Junior left a message for Chargers President Dean Spanos today alerting him that he may sign a contract and play for the New England Patriots," the Chargers said in a statement. "If, in fact, he chooses to continue his playing career, we wish him good health and the best of luck this season. Junior's place in the Chargers Hall of Fame awaits him when his career is over."
The San Diego Union-Tribune first reported on its Web site that Seau would try out for the Patriots and could sign by the end of the week. Seau's agent, Marvin Demoff, did not return several calls from The Associated Press.
Reached in Chicago, where the Chargers will play the Bears on Friday night, Spanos declined comment. The Patriots did not immediately respond to a request for comment, but coach Bill Belichick recalled Monday that he got to know Seau at the 1998 Pro Bowl.
"He's always been a very energetic, high-energy type of player that has made a lot of big plays through his career," Belichick said when asked to comment on Seau's retirement. "He's had a good career, 16 years he's been playing, pretty good."
The Patriots are looking for linebackers because Tedy Bruschi has a broken hand and Willie McGinest, another mainstay of their three Super Bowl titles, signed with the Cleveland Browns as a free agent. Chad Brown and Monte Beisel are also hurt.
Seau grew up in suburban San Diego and starred at Southern California before the Chargers took him fifth overall in the 1990 draft. He led San Diego to the 1995 Super Bowl - its only appearance in the NFL title game - but was cut loose in the spring of 2003.
He played three seasons in Miami before the Dolphins released him.
"It's pretty easy. When a team doesn't want you or need you, retire, buddy," he told a crowd of about 300 family, friends, players and team executives Monday at Chargers' headquarters.
"I'm not retiring. I am graduating. Today is my graduation day. Retirement means that you'll just go ahead and live on your laurels and surf all day in Oceanside. It ain't going to happen."
Even as he announced his retirement, Seau said he was healthy and still able to play. Asked if his decision was irreversible, Seau said: "I can't answer that. I really can't.
"What situation can get me out of it? I don't know," he said. "If there's a need team out there, I'm definitely going to look at it. But we're almost halfway through training camp. I'm 37 years old."
Ben Roethlisberger can't stay away from injuries, only now they're happening on the football field.
Roethlisberger, his facial injuries from a motorcycle crash two months ago apparently healed, has a sprained ligament in his right thumb and is questionable for Pittsburgh's exhibition game against Minnesota on Saturday night.
Neither he nor coach Bill Cowher thinks the injury is serious, however.
The Super Bowl-winning quarterback banged the thumb on a lineman's shoulder pad late in practice Wednesday, his second thumb injury in nine months.
"It's all right, I think it's going to be OK," Roethlisberger said Thursday after watching practice from the sidelines. "It's like getting a day off."
Tight end Jerramy Stevens was expected to miss the next six weeks after injuring his surgically repaired left knee during practice.
An MRI exam showed that Stevens tore the meniscus in the same knee that was fixed April 25. He was scheduled to have surgery Friday in Seattle.
The Seahawks open the season Sept. 10 at Detroit. Six weeks would be the end of September, and the Seahawks could give Stevens more time to recover with their bye coming on Oct. 8.
Stevens was hurt while trying to catch a pass from Matt Hasselbeck. The pass was broken up and Stevens fell to the ground, landing heavily on his knees. He was taken to the locker room on a cart.
Wide receiver Charles Rogers will miss Friday's preseason game against the Cleveland Browns with a knee injury.
After Thursday's workout, coach Rod Marinelli said the fourth-year receiver would not play against the Browns. Rogers missed the last three days of practice with soreness in his knee.
Rogers is battling for a roster spot with rookie Shaun Bodiford and Glenn Martinez, who played in NFL Europe after spending most of last season on Detroit's practice squad.
Linebacker Chad Greenway was placed on injured reserve, ending the rookie's season. Minnesota also signed veteran linebacker Jason Glenn and waived punter John Torp.
Torp was beaten out by Chris Kluwe, who had a solid rookie season before tearing the anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee. Kluwe's 44.1-yard average was sixth in the NFL last year.
Glenn appeared in all 16 games last year for Miami. He also spent four seasons with the New York Jets.
Greenway, the team's first-round draft pick, tore the anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee while covering a kickoff in Monday night's exhibition game against Oakland.
A shuffle and scuffle marked the Broncos' final full workout of training camp.
Cornerback Domonique Foxworth and receiver David Kircus got into a shoving match during a punt coverage drill Thursday, forcing coach Mike Shanahan to gather his team at midfield for an admonition about fighting.
"We're buddies," Kircus said after running laps with Foxworth as punishment. "That's just being competitive on the field. There's no hard feelings. Shortly afterward we shook hands and said we're going to be together all season. So, we were just getting competitive."
Dallas acquired receiver Charlie Adams from the Denver Broncos for an undisclosed draft choice.
With Patrick Crayton still out because of a sprained right foot, and Terrell Owens (hamstring) and Terry Glenn (foot blisters) having missed practices this week, coach Bill Parcells wanted to add some depth at receiver.
The 6-foot-2, 190-pound Adams played in all 16 games for the Broncos last season, his third in the NFL. He caught 21 passes for 203 yards while also returning punts and kickoffs. He played in four games each in 2003 and 2004, primarily on special teams and without any catches.