OCEANSIDE, Calif. — Hours after Junior Seau was buried in his hometown, thousands of fans got their chance to cheer one more time for the hard-hitting, fist-pumping linebacker at the stadium where he starred for 13 seasons.
A crowd estimated at 20,000 attended a public memorial service at Qualcomm Stadium. Many wore Seau’s No. 55 jersey — in Chargers blue, Southern California cardinal and gold and Miami Dolphins aqua and orange. One of Seau’s cousins wore a jersey combing the colors of all three of his pro teams, including the New England Patriots.
“I love it,” Lynch said.
Chargers president Dean Spanos made official what many had known since Seau left after the 2002 season, that No. 55 will never be worn by another Chargers player.
Among those attending were Seau’s parents, his ex-wife and their children, several current and former Chargers, and former rival John Elway. Elway, who now runs Denver’s front office, was accompanied by new Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning and coach John Fox, a former assistant with San Diego.
Seau’s No. 55 was painted at midfield.
Seau committed suicide on May 2 at his Oceanside home. He played parts of 20 seasons in the NFL.
After a private funeral earlier Friday, Seau was buried at Eternal Hills cemetery.
Chargers chaplain Shawn Mitchell opened the service with a prayer.
“Junior, we don’t know if you can see this down here, but tonight’s your night.”
Said Hall of Fame quarterback Dan Fouts: “Our paths never crossed on the field, but boy could we have used him with the offense of Air Coryell. I’m also glad I never had to play against him. I could just imagine the thought of him sacking me, then standing over me and dancing all over me.”
Someone yelled, “Ask Elway!”
Fouts called it a “classy move” for Elway, Manning and Fox to attend, and the crowd cheered.