Junior Seau’s favorite sports job? Apparently, playing linebacker in NFL, still.
Versus, the 40-year-old, 12-time Pro Bowler’s current employer, is reporting that he has rejoined his previous employer, signing a contract today to return to the Patriots.
“I’m very fortunate and honored to be involved with two class organizations — the New England Patriots and Versus,” said Seau in a press release. “I want to thank the management of both for making my return to the NFL with the New England Patriots a reality.”
Seau, who played four games for the Patriots last season, will be playing his 20th NFL season. It is the third time Seau has come out of retirement. Seau first retired in August 2006 after 16 seasons, 13 with the San Diego Chargers and three with the Miami Dolphins.
“I’m not retiring. I am graduating. Today is my graduation day,” he said then. “Retirement means that you’ll just go ahead and live on your laurels and surf all day in Oceanside (Calif.). It ain’t going to happen.”
He put off “graduation” to join the Patriots less than a week later.
Seau played 11 games for the Patriots in 2006 before suffering a season-ending arm injury, and played all 16 games in 2007. He came out of retirement again for the final four games when the Patriots were decimated by injuries at linebacker.
His return to the Patriots has been considered a formality the past couple of weeks, though coach Bill Belichick would not confirm the signing during his conference call this afternoon.
“We don’t have anything to say about it,” Belichick said. “We’re not going to talk about anyone who is not with our team.”
Patriots player personnel director Nick Caserio, who also spoke on a conference call this afternoon, did confirm that the Patriots worked out Seau recently and had him take a physical.
“He looks like he kept himself in good shape,” Caserio said.
Defensive coordinator Dean Pees wouldn’t comment specifically about Seau when asked about the report, but he did say he appreciated what Seau brought to the Patriots in the previous two seasons.
“Just like [Tedy] Bruschi, just like [Mike] Vrabel, just like a lot guys [who are no longer Patriots], they were all an integral part of this team,” Pees said. “As far as right now, it’s hard for me to talk about anyone who’s not on our team right now.”
Seau recently began hosting the program “Sports Jobs With Junior Seau” for the Versus, which debuts Dec. 2 at 10 p.m. Versus said today the show will run a full season.
“Junior Seau’s return to the New England Patriots will in no way affect his hosting duties,” said Versus president Jamie Davis said in a statement.
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There was no update on the status of left tackle Matt Light, who was helped off the field during Sunday’s game with an apparent knee injury.
Michael Vega of the Globe staff contributed to this report. Material from the Associated Press was also used.