SAN DIEGO — When Junior Seau is inducted posthumously into the Pro Football Hall of Fame Saturday in Canton, Ohio, a contingent of family, friends and fans from San Diego will represent him at the event he dreamed of since childhood.
“It was a dream that he’s had since he was five years old 5 and its becoming a reality,” said his sister, Annette Seau-So’to. “Celebration yes. Bitter sweet definitely.”
The dream of a young boy from Oceanside will finally come to fruition, sadly the man who will be enshrined into Hall of Fame San Diego’s favorite son, Junior Seau, will only be there in spirit.
“It’s the last piece of his circle that’s going to be complete. It’s going to be a very emotional day for everybody,” Seau’s sister said.
A contingency of more than 150 family members, friends and fans will travel to Canton for the 4-day event, which culminates on Saturday with the unveiling of a bronze bust of the superstar linebacker #55.
“The outpouring of support when the hall of fame wouldn’t allow Sydney to speak the outpouring of everyone was amazing. I was the same as when Junior passed away.”
The road to Canton has not been without a blitz or two. The Hall of Fame announcing first that Seau’s 24-year old daughter Sydney would not be allowed to speak on his behalf, then changing it’s stance after a groundswell of outrage and calls from both NFL president, Roger Goodell and the owner of the New England Patriots – the last team Seau played for in his 20 year career.
“Mr. Kraft was also part of that whole ordeal so that really helped,” said Seau-So’to.
Seau’s four children will be invited onstage for the unveiling following a five minute video in which Sydney is featured, but she will be allowed to speak freely during Thursday’s event.
“It’s the ‘jacket induction’ so they will give her the patch that would normally go on a jacket. I suspect that’s when she will get up and talk about Junior.”
Mike Kinkelaar is on the board of the Junior Seau Foundation, which continues to raise money in his name and support local charities.
“He talked to Sydney, his daughter about that event, and said I want you to present me to the hall of fame if or when I am inducted. So he thought about this after he retired quite bit.”
According to his sister, just two weeks before his untimely death on May 2nd 2012 Seau told her he would be the first American Samoan to be enshrined in 2015 but adds he was already talking about it years before when he was a little boy.
Laughing through her tears she recalled, Junior telling her, “I’m going to the NFL, I’m going to the Super Bowl and I will definitely be the first Samoan to make the Hall of Fame. And I was just laughing. And I said ‘you sure do dream a lot!! But look at where we are today.”