ENGLEWOOD, Colo. -- On Wednesday, Executive Vice President of Football Operations John Elway shared his thoughts on the passing of former Chargers, Dolphins and Patriots linebacker Junior Seau.
"I had the pleasure of playing against Junior for many years," Elway said via Twitter. "He played the game the way it was meant to be played. We shared a lot of laughs from our AFC West battles when I saw Junior before he was inducted into the Chargers Hall of Fame in November.
"Junior was a true competitor and a special player. My heartfelt condolences go out to the Seau family."
Seau's 20-year NFL career included 13 seasons with the Chargers.
Seau went to 12 Pro Bowls, and for his career, totaled 1,846 tackles and 56.5 sacks.
Head Coach John Fox, who coached on the San Diego defense that included Seau for two seasons (1992-93), added the following thoughts:
"Junior was an incredible leader who played with great passion. Coaching on a defense that included him has been one of the most memorable experiences of my career. We had a great relationship. I have an enormous amount of respect for him as a player and a person.
"I offer my sympathies to his family."
Quarterback Peyton Manning spoke on Seau's passing Wednesday as well.
"When I first got into the league in 1998, the two most dominating defenders I played against were Junior Seau and Bruce Smith," Manning said. "Junior was truly a once-in-a-lifetime player. I remember how many times we would be getting ready to play him and the Chargers and someone would say, 'This is a blitz here.' And I would say, 'That's not a blitz; that's just Junior Seau smelling something and going after it.' He was very difficult to play against because his instincts would always lead him to the right place on defense—or the wrong place for the offense. He and Ray Lewis are the two best linebackers I've ever played against, and I know many others would feel the same way.
"I had the great pleasure of playing against Junior, but I also had the honor of playing with Junior in a couple of Pro Bowls. Just in those shorts weeks of Pro Bowl practices, nobody had more passion for the game than Junior Seau. His energy and enthusiasm—you could tell how it spread back to his teammates with the Chargers, Dolphins and Patriots. I also got to attend some charity functions with him and I saw how philanthropic he was in giving his time and money to several worthy causes.
"To me, Junior had a quality of making the people around him feel special and comfortable. It didn't matter what environment he was in—he had just a great energy and an aura about him that people gravitated to. That's why he was such a great leader. I always felt good being around him. He was truly a one-of-a-kind football player and a one-of-a-kind person just because of his passion.
"I was honored to call Junior a friend and I was deeply saddened by the news of his passing. I will truly miss him, and I know a lot of people are going to miss him. My heartfelt condolences go out to his family."