Former Chargers linebacker Junior Seau, hospitalized following injuries sustained when his SUV crashed at the bottom of a Carlsbad cliff, is weak and bruised but surrounded by a very supportive family, according to a longtime friend.
The man who has been the San Diego Chargers Chaplain for the past 28 years described his hospital room visit with Seau Monday night.
“He’s weak, he’s bruised, but I’ve seen him worse after football games,” said Shawn Mitchell, senior pastor at New Venture Fellowship.
The former Pro-Bowler has been on a rollercoaster ride over the last 36 hours. Oceanside police arrested Seau Sunday night on a felony domestic violence charge. Then, hours after his release from custody, Seau was found behind the wheel of an SUV that had crashed over a cliff onto the beach below.
There are a lot of rumors out there about suicide and alcohol Mitchell said but there is a bigger story, a spiritual story. “Good can come out of what appears to be bad,” Mitchell said. “And we expect a lot of good to come out of this."
At 8:42 a.m. Monday, Carlsbad police received a 911 call reporting a single vehicle accident at Carlsbad Boulevard and Solamar Avenue. Inside a white Cadillac SUV, officers said they found Junior Seau.
According to a police news release, a "preliminary investigation shows the vehicle left the roadway and traveled over the cliff, landing on the beach below." By Monday afternoon, police were confirming accounts by sources close to Seau that he fell asleep before going off the roadway.
"I went to get back in my van, and all of a sudden there [make car-revving noise], right off the edge of the cliff," crash witness "Moose" Lea said. "I don't think there was anybody in the car the way it went off the cliff ... I didn't go down, it was all slippery, muddy. He was out of the car about within a matter of ... one minute."
Seau, 41, was transported to Scripps La Jolla to be treated for his injuries, Carlsbad police said. He was released from the hospital Tuesday morning.
Seau had been arrested just hours earlier by Oceanside police for the alleged assault of his 25-year old live-in girlfriend. According to an Oceanside police news release, officers made the arrest at approximately 12:20 a.m. Monday.
Officers were originally called out to Seau's home on South Strand in Oceanside around 10 p.m. Sunday to investigate a report of a domestic violence assault. Seau's girlfriend alleged Seau assaulted her during a verbal argument.
Seau, who was not home at the time, called the victim while police were on scene and spoke to the officers; he agreed to return to the home, officers said.
Shortly after midnight Seau drove back to the scene and was arrested without incident as he approached the residence, according to police.
Seau was booked into the Vista Detention Facility for spousal assault with injury, police said.
Neighbors said they couldn't believe that the former football star could be guilty of domestic violence or would have driven himself off a cliff.
Mitchell, who said he and Seau have been friends for almost three decades, said he prayed inside the hospital with the former Charger and his family.
“In that room, I saw a man who is tired, a man who is weak but a man who still had that smile,” said Mitchell. “I looked at a person like probably all of us in different ways go through various things that with God is going to pull out of it.”
When asked what Seau would say to San Diego if he could, Mitchell said, “I think he would probably say something like ‘San Diego, I’m going to be okay. I’m going to look at this situation and I’m going to look first to God.'"
Seau was born in San Diego and played for the Chargers from 1990 to 2002. He attended Oceanside High School before attending University of Southern California. He owns two restaurants; “Seau’s The Restaurant” in Mission Valley and Temecula.
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