FOXBOROUGH, Mass. (AP) — Junior Seau is retiring again and looking ahead to more time on his surfboard.
The 12-time Pro Bowl linebacker, who came out of retirement to rejoin the New England Patriots in their sixth game this season, said in remarks taped for broadcast Wednesday night on Showtime that he’s ending his career.
Seau played eight games for the Patriots this season, all as a backup, finishing with last Sunday’s 33-14 playoff loss to Baltimore in which he made a season-high five tackles.
“That’s going to be my last game,” he said during the interview taped on Wednesday.
That was more definitive than comments earlier in the interview when he said, “I’m going to go surf. … Whatever happens, I can say, honestly say, that that probably was my last game.”
Seau first left football briefly in August 2006 after 13 seasons with San Diego and three with Miami.
“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 signed with the Patriots four days later and started 14 of the 27 games he played for them over two seasons. He retired after the 2007 season, then came out of retirement for the final four games in 2008 before retiring after that season.
Seau, who turns 41 on Tuesday, played seven regular-season games this season, all as a backup, and made 15 tackles. New England finished 10-6 and won the AFC East.
The Patriots fell behind 24-0 in the first quarter Sunday and allowed the Ravens to rush for 234 yards. Tom Brady threw three interceptions and lost a fumble.
“You have to be accountable,” Seau said in the interview on Showtime’s Inside the NFL. “He’s going to be accountable to what he did, but there’s no one, no one can be exempt in that locker room as to what happened to us against the Baltimore Ravens. And that’s talking the coaches, offense, defense and special teams. So, we lost to the Baltimore Ravens because they are a better team.”
Seau first played this season in wins over Tennessee and Tampa Bay. But he didn’t play in the next three games and was inactive the following week despite being healthy for a 22-21 loss at Miami on Dec. 6. Then he played the remaining five regular-season games.
His return to the Patriots this season had been announced by Versus, the television network on which he has a show, “Sports Jobs with Junior Seau,” in which he does jobs in other sports, including riding a hockey Zamboni and working as a ballboy for the Los Angeles Dodgers.
On the day of the Versus announcement, the club did not announce his return, but team owner Robert Kraft said, “He’s a unique individual. I’d love to have him part of our team for as long as he wants to.”
Seau was known for his passion and leadership, two qualities the Patriots needed after Rodney Harrison and Tedy Bruschi retired and Mike Vrabel and Richard Seymour were traded before the season.
“I’m too old to be excited,” Seau said when he signed on Oct. 14. “I’m too old to jump up for joy. I know that the only way this is all going to be exciting to anyone, (is) if it works.”