While checking something for a story I was reading at work tonight, I stumbled across this tidbit of information that hammered home just how ancient (in a football sense) Junior Seau actually is, and I have to share:
Seau entered the NFL in 1990 as the San Diego Chargers' No 1 pick out of Southern Cal. In that same draft, the Patriots' selections included - and consider this the warning that you're about to suffer terrifying flashbacks to some brutal football - linebacker Chris Singleton, defensive lineman Ray Agnew, quarterback Tommy Hodson, and wide receiver Greg McMurtry, among assorted others whose football legacies exist only in their own minds and in the small type of an old Patriots media guide. (Can you hear me, Ventson Donelson?)
Seau, who went fifth overall, very well could have become a Patriot then and there. You might recall that New England originally held the No. 3 choice in that draft, but dealt it to Seattle for the eighth and 10th picks, which they promptly spent on Singleton (who lasted all three seasons with the Pats) and Agnew (who played five nondescript seasons for the Pats and concluded his career with the '00 Rams).
As for the No. 3 pick, Seattle used it on mammoth U of Miami defensive tackle Cortez Kennedy . . . who, coincidentally, we found out today is one of the new finalists for the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Full circle and all that.
So, in sum: The Patriots could have had Kennedy or Seau, who as far as I could tell is the last active player from that draft. General manager Patrick Sullivan - the son of original Patriots owner Billy Sullivan, which I suppose makes him a less-rich, less-smug version of Jonathan Kraft - dealt his way into getting Singleton and Agnew. Shrewd, son. Shrewd.
Though you know I'm too cynical to put much stock in tidy lessons and teachable moments, I suppose you can find something of the sort here without much searching. Should you ever catch yourself taking this glorious current era for granted, just take one look at ol' No. 55, a Foxboro favorite 17 years after he first could have become a Patriot, and suddenly those days when this dynamic, dynastic team was the league laughingstock won't seem so long ago.
And if that doesn't sufficiently humble you, well, I might just have to mention Tommy Hodson again.
(By the way, here's a fun do-over on how that draft should have gone.)