March 15, 2003

By Michael Strickland

So Long, Seau

An era has passed for the San Diego Chargers.

In the most shocking of its off-season personnel changes this year, the Chargers management has pink-slipped its most dedicated player, linebacker Junior Seau. While its true that Seau didn't play at his usual level of intensity this past year, and the Chargers defense as a whole ranked dead-last against the pass, the man has long been the team's leader. His pride and professionalism have set a high standard for his teammates to meet. And the Pro Bowler still has a couple of good years left in him. Alas, the San Diego native that has done so much for this team—and this city—will have to play his NFL twilight years elsewhere.

With the excision of the heart from this now-undead team, I wonder what new incarnation will arise from the ashes. Given the Chargers' recent whining about financial matters; the organization's selfish claims that it needs a new stadium to remain competitive; and its seeming callousness in releasing players like John Carney, John Parella, Curtis Conway, Rodney Harrison and now Seau himself, I can't help but wonder if we have another godless Raider-like organization materializing.

While the rest of the NFL has been consumed by the almighty dollar, and the star players that millions of them can buy, the Chargers have plodded along with chins held high. Perhaps they haven't won as many games as they should have in the past ten years, but they maintained a heart and soul—largely embodied by Seau—even through the dark days of Bobby Beathard and Ryan Leaf. But the Spanos family finally gave in to the Way of the Wallet. Now, the organization doesn't seem to care about its loyal stars who have been the only bright spots in a streak of losing seasons. I guess I shouldn't be surprised; they've already demonstrated that they don't care about their loyal fans, or the residents of this city. They just want those dollars to roll in.

I feel a sense of bitterness (in case it wasn't obvious), as I suspect many other Chargers fans do. I've spent the past 20 years rooting for a team that has had a losing record more often than not. I've endured countless wisecracks from friends who support winning teams like the Broncos or 49ers. I've stood steadfastly by my Chargers all these years, proudly wearing my blue-and-gold bolts. Now the organization cuts its best players and threatens to move if the city doesn't give it a new stadium (even though the city has paid out over $100 million under the existing agreement to play in Qualcomm Stadium). The blue-and-gold has become green-on-green.

I doff my Chargers hat to Seau and wish him well, wherever he goes. But now I have to decide whether or not to put the hat back on.


Development note: I've noticed that this site doesn't look like it should in Netscape Navigator. Rather than waste time jury-rigging it to look right in a soon-to-be-obsolete browser, I'll just add the cliché "This site best viewed with Internet Explorer."
Michael Strickland ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

What is "The Daily Strick"?

I have long called myself a writer, but too often I don't do what a writer must do daily: write. So you, dear reader, are the beneficiary of my resolution to make a positive change in at least one area of my life. Every single day of this new year, I will write something, anything, and post it here. It is my intention to use this daily exercise to jump-start my too-long-dormant creative energies, and perhaps generate some worthwhile material this year. Hopefully you will find at least an occasional amusement or insight in my daily musings.

Today's Column
Send a Comment


3/14: Telemarketing Pays
3/13: Free, For Now
3/12: Chicken Little Gets Respect
3/11: Axis of Evil
3/10: Writing Kept Me From Writing
3/9: King Arthur
3/8: The Women are Smarter
3/7: Salt on Old Wounds
3/6: 3/3/03, 3:33 p.m.
3/5: Beer Day
3/4: Pulling the Trigger
3/3: Make 'Em Laugh
3/2: Whither Iraq?
3/1: Strickland Cellars
Previous months in The Archive

Like what you've read?
Find more good reading on

In Association with

(and support future Daily Stricks!)