Born (Tiaina Baul Seau Jr.) January 19, 1969 in San Diego, California, Seau was one of five children. He attended Oceanside High school where he was a basketball, football and track star. After high school he would stay true to his California roots and attend University of Southern California.
Seau was forced to sit out his freshmen year due to low SAT scored. Seau told Sports Illustrated: “I was labeled a dumb jock. I went from being a four-sport star to an ordinary student at USC. I found out who my true friends were. Nobody stuck up for me—not our relatives, best friends or neighbors. There’s a lot of jealousy among Samoans, not wanting others to get ahead in life, and my parents got an earful at church: ‘We told you he was never going to make it.'”
In 1990 he would go on to be drafted first round, fifth overall pick by the San Diego Chargers. Seau was a 12x Pro Bowler and played for a total of 3 teams with a career that spanned 20 years. Seau retired in January 2010.
On May 2, 2012, Seau’s girlfriend found him dead with a gunshot wound to the chest at his home in Oceanside. He left no suicide note but he did leave a paper in the kitchen of his home with lyrics he scribbled from his favorite country song, “Who I Ain’t”. The song, co-written by his friend Jamie Paulin, describing a man who regrets the person he has become. Seau left behind a daughter and two sons.