It’s official: Junior Seau is back with the Patriots.
The Patriots confirmed this morning that they have re-signed the 12-time Pro Bowl linebacker, a day after Seau announced on Versus.com, the website of the network on which he hosts a program, that he was returning to the team.
“It’s good to have Junior back,” Patriots coach Bill Belichick said. “He brings a lot of energy and experience and toughness to our team. We’ve been talking about this for a little while and we’re glad we worked it out here in the last day or two and we’re glad to have him.”
Belichick would not confirm whether Seau will be in uniform this week against the Titans.
“We’ll just take it day to day,” he said. “We don’t exactly know how things are going to work out this week, next week or any other week. We’ll see how it goes as far as game plans and utilization in our defense. I’m sure he’ll contribute for us.”
Seau, who played 11 regular-season games for the Patriots in 2006, 16 in 2007, and four last year after signing late in the season, retired this offseason for the second time. But the 40-year-old was quoted this offseason as saying that the Patriots are the only team for which he would consider playing, and his return has been anticipated for a couple of weeks.
During a press conference this afternoon at Gillette Stadium, Seau said he’s been keeping himself in shape in hopes that Belichick would give him the call he was waiting for.
“[My return is] always going to be Bill’s timing. And it always has been,” Seau said when asked if he is back sooner than he expected. “Forecasting what happens in the National Football League and my career, I’ve learned after 19 years of playing in this league that we really don’t control that.
“In eight months, I’ve been working out for a chance to make a choice. The chance, I didn’t have control of. Bill had control of that. But the choice was to be prepared for that chance. So for eight months, I have been training to receive a chance, and to have a choice. And here we are.”
Seau said he’s looking forward to helping the defense in any way he can — on the field, of course, but also by imparting the wisdom gained in his nearly two decades in the league.
“There’s a linebacking corps that we have now that was probably in first grade when I was a rookie. So there’s a lot of youth, but they can play the game,” Seau said. “So if there’s anything I can do to help them either in the meeting room or the weight room, whatever it may take, it’s gong to be fun playing with them. But they’re definitely young.”
Seau, who will wear his customary No. 55, with Derrick Burgess switching to No. 53, said he believes he can still play at a high level.
“I’m not worried about that,” he said. “If I was worried about that, I wouldn’t be here today. One thing I know is that you can’t coach courage. You can’t. You give me an A, B gap, I’m going through there, until I break glass. I will go through the A and B gap until I break glass. And that’s what I do. I’m not afraid about whether or not I’m going to bring to the table a level that I had 20 years ago. That’s not going to happen. Again, back to the box. The box is basically what Bill needs. He’ll tell you what he needs. If I have to be a plumber today, I’ll be a plumber. Whatever it may be. I’m just here to help.”
Seau again emphasized his respect for Belichick.
“The best thing I do is I lean on Bill Belichick,” Seau said. “And the reason I say that is that Bill doesn’t kick around tires and say, ‘I’m just going to go grab a guy that’s 40 years old off the surfboard and say come and join us.’ He has a plan. And his plan is something that we’re going to try and implement, whatever it may be.
“He knows who I am and I know what he has to offer. I trust Bill. All right? And because I trust Bill, I’m here today,” he added. “What am I going to do? How am I going to help them team? I can’t forecast that. I wish I could. If I could, I wouldn’t be a football player. I wouldn’t. Just give me a helmet — I’m going to be the bets football player that I can be today, and we’ll go from there.”
To make room on the roster for Seau, the club released defensive lineman Terdell Sands. He was signed by the Patriots on Sept. 29 and played one game, making one tackle.