Saban: Seau’s death ‘really difficult’ for those wondering if they could’ve helped

Nick Saban’s path crossed with Junior Seau’s only briefly, but last week’s suicide of the former NFL legend left the Alabama coach in shock. The 20-year NFL veteran who retired in 2009 was found dead in his California home last Wednesday. The death was ruled a suicide.

Saban coached Seau in 2005, the linebacker’s final season with the Miami Dolphins. Saban was joking with reporters before Tuesday evening’s Crimson Caravan stop in Birmingham, but quickly changed tunes when Seau’s death was discussed.

The shocking death was “one of the most difficult things I’ve had to deal with, probably, this year,” Saban said.

“You always have these guys, if you’re fortunate, that are really special people that have you have the opportunity to coach or have on your team or whatever,” Saban said. “Junior Seau was one of those guys. He was one of the most popular guys on the team, the most positive, the most upbeat, the most enthusiastic, energetic, great practice player, great football player. (He) loved football probably as much as anybody I’ve ever been around.”

There are always questions lingering for those left behind when someone takes their own life.

“It’s just really difficult to think that maybe there may have been something you could do to help him or whatever,” Saban said. “Our thoughts and prayers go out to his family, but man, what a great guy and a great football player.”

Seau started five of the seven games he played under Saban in 2005. He didn’t finish the season after suffering an Achilles tendon injury.

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