Junior Seau pictured here in his final NFL game of a 20-year career, a playoff loss to the Ravens at Gillette Stadium. (Al Bello/Getty Images)
PHOENIX — Bill Belichick was right about Junior Seau.
The late linebacker was voted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame Saturday by the organization’s annual selection committee meeting on the day before the Super Bowl.
The nine-hour meeting resulted in the election of eight individuals to the Hall of Fame’s Class of 2015. Raising the total number of members in the Hall of Fame to 295 are running back Jerome Bettis, wide receiver/returner Tim Brown, defensive end/linebacker Charles Haley, contributor Bill Polian, linebacker Junior Seau, guard Will Shields, center Mick Tingelhoff, and contributor Ron Wolf.
Belichick had said on Thursday that the election of Seau was a no-brainer. Seau starred for 20 NFL seasons during which time he established himself as one the finest linebackers in league history. Named first-team All-Pro eight times, he was selected to 12 Pro Bowls and named NFL Defensive Player of the Year in 1992. His final four seasons were spent under Belichick with the Patriots from 2006-09.
“This is a huge honor for our family. It is definitely with a heavy heart that I am accepting this because he should be here,” son Tyler Seau said, referring to his father’s suicide in 2012. “He is here with us right now, and he is joining this family and team that everyone is talking about, but I think family is even stronger. Emotionally, it is tough because we are missing a huge part, but we are staying strong and this is a blessing. We are humbled to be a part of this family.”
The annual selection meeting was held inside the Super Bowl XLIX Media Center in downtown Phoenix and capped a year-round selection process. The newly elected Hall of Famers were chosen from a list of 18 finalists who had been determined earlier by the Pro Football Hall of Fame‘s Selection Committee.