8. Former Patriot linebacker Junior Seau’s suicide
Junior Seau, a 43-year-old 12-time NFL Pro Bowl and former New England Patriots linebacker, was found dead in his home, the result of a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the chest, on May 2. Seau's suicide stunned football fans and left many seeking an explanation.
The 6-foot, 3-inch, 275-pound Seau—who was known for his upbeat personality—had no alcohol or illicit drugs in his system when he committed suicide, and an initial examination of his brain showed no apparent damage from his years of football, according to the autopsy and toxicology reports released by the San Diego County medical examiner in August.
After establishing his football legacy with the Chargers and Dolphins, Seau joined the Patriots before the start of the 2006 season. Seau started 10 of the first 11 games for the Patriots in 2006, recording 69 tackles before breaking his right arm in a game against the Chicago Bears. In September 2007, Seau was named one of the Patriots' seven captains and he re-signed with the Patriots again for the 2008 and 2009 seasons before retiring for good in January 2010.
The San Diego County medical examiner’s office recently released preserved brain tissue to the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Md.