For 20 years, Junior Seau made his job as an NFL linebacker look easy. He was first-team All-Pro seven times for the San Diego Chargers, and most recently he was an important role player for the New England Patriots, helping them to Super Bowl XLII.
But now Seau is retiring and his new job is... well, working new jobs on the show Sports Jobs with Junior Seau (on Versus, Wednesday nights at 10 PM and shown throughout the day, too).
Sports Jobs has Seau going behind the scenes with the folks you might not see on TV: He’s been an MLB bay boy, an NHL equipment manager, part of an Indy car pit crew, a Sports Illustrated writer, and even a rodeo clown!
Seau took some time away from work to talk to SIKIDS.com about his favorite job, which job you might want to have some day, and, of course, the NFL playoffs…
SIKIDS.com: So we’re almost to the end of the season for Sports Jobs. Tell us about the show.
Seau: The show is basically me living the lives of people who are unsung heroes. Being part of the NFL for 20 years, I’ve had so many people who have helped me become the player who I am. And it gives me a chance to pay homage to them. They’re all people who are working day in and day out and to allow us pros to be pros.
SIKIDS.com: So most kids will not grow up to be 6’ 3”, 250-pound All-Pro linebackers. Of the jobs you’ve done, which would you recommend for a kid who isn’t going to be a pro athlete but still wants to work in sports?
Seau: Oh, be a sports reporter. It’s a fun job, it keeps you in the game. You’re telling stories about players and situations that happen during the week. It was something that I really enjoyed, forming a game plan as to how I was going to build a story. And I was really proud of the story that I came out with.
SIKIDS.com: You had two episodes where you worked with animals – as a horse trainer and as a bull fighter. Do you like animals or was that something that freaked you out a little?
Seau: No, I love animals. I have a Mastiff [dog] myself and he’s my best friend, his name is Rock. We jog every morning and it’s something I hold dear to my heart. I think animals can really bring the best out of you in terms of compassion and caring. They don’t speak back, but they definitely give you body language, and it’s amazing how an animal’s body language can speak to you. So, yeah, I do love animals and being a horse trainer and being a rodeo clown are our next two episodes and I’m very proud of those episodes.
SIKIDS.com: So you worked 10 different jobs for the show’s first season. Were there any that you enjoyed that really surprised you?
Seau: I’d have to say being in an Indy car pit crew. They live their life in a little bubble. They have seven seconds to perform under, and everyone is counting on each other. It’s such a unique team effort. And [if something goes wrong] there’s no question as to who didn’t do their job, because your job can be the cause of losing a race. It’s a matter of being accountable and being attentive during the race and not taking anything for granted.
SIKIDS.com: So you’ve announced your retirement from the NFL, is that definite?
Seau: Yes, it is.
SIKIDS.com: What's next for you? Do you have any interest in coaching or being an analyst?
Seau: I’m looking at every option. And the exciting thing for me is that I have options and I have choices I can make. But being in show business and being in the Versus family has been enlightening for me.
SIKIDS.com: So San Diego is your hometown and you played a lot of years for the San Diego Chargers. They had another tough playoff loss last Sunday, when kicker Nate Kaeding missed two easy field goals. As a team leader how would you treat him after such a horrible game?
Seau: You embrace him. Any time someone has a bad game over the course of a journey – and I call a season a journey because that’s what it is – you just embrace him. You know that he hurts just as bad as anyone else and probably even more. But the game is played, and you execute, and sometimes you fail. You have to take the bad with the good and just embrace every single moment you have on the playing field.
SIKIDS.com: You were on the Patriots roster for a game against the Colts and their second game against the Jets, so you know those two teams. Do you think the Jets have a chance at upsetting Indy on Sunday?
Seau: Oh, definitely. There’s only four teams left and they’re one of them. Whenever you have that opportunity, anything can happen. All the post-season games, regular season games, preseason, mini camps, all the things you’ve gone through are meaningless now. It’s all about executing the game plan for the next week, and you’re going to be hired or fired. If you don’t win, you’re fired. If you do win, you’re hired for another week.
SIKIDS.com: You’ve seen the Jets quite a few times over the past couple seasons. Are you surprised they’ve gone this deep into the playoffs?
Seau: No, I’m really not. Because when you have a coach by the name of Rex with the mentality and the attitude that he has, it’s contagious. They have guys who are smart, fast, and play tough. Those three ingredients, to have them show up in ball players every Sunday is a key factor. And he’s able to pull that out of them.
SIKIDS.com: You and Brett Favre are only a couple of months apart in terms of age. There are few NFL players who play into their 40s. Why do you think you two were able to last so long?
Seau: For me, a lot of prayers, perseverance, and passion. You have to have all three of those. We are very fortunate to have our health to go along with our experience, which probably carried us through the last decade of our careers. But what he’s been able to do, going out there last week and performing like he did, was amazing.
SIKIDS.com: Any picks for Sunday’s games?
Seau: Well, I’m just going to cheer for some friends. Obviously, I’m friends with [former teammate] Drew Brees and Reggie Bush, who is from San Diego. And the Jets have such a great story, and hopefully that story will continue.