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Report: Junior Seau Confessed His 2010 Carlsbad Cliff Plunge Was Suicide Try

Investigative story on Chargers great reveals gambling debts, hard drinking and business losses.

Junior Seau told his estranged girlfriend Mary Nolan in January 2011 that his 60 mph drive off a Carlsbad cliff three months earlier was a suicide attempt, according to an 8,800-word article Sunday in U-T San Diego.

Headlined “Bitter endgame,” the investigative piece by Jill Lieber Steeg described a “perfect storm” of factors that ended with the NFL great’s May 2 suicide at his Oceanside home.

In the days and weeks after driving his Cadillac Escalade off the cliff at Carlsbad Boulevard and Solamar Drive, Seau told his former teammates and other friends that he had fallen asleep, the U-T reported in a story that could gain a Pulitzer nomination.

“A month after the domestic violence episode [with Nolan] and the cliff incident, they started talking and quietly rekindled their relationship,” the report said. “In mid-January 2011, a day after his birthday, Seau and Nolan saw each other for the first time since she walked out. He asked her to move back to Oceanside, but she said no, not unless he corrected the issues in his life—his drinking, gambling and infidelity.”

In Sunday’s story, Lieber Steeg quoted a Seau friend, Jamie Paulin, as saying: “Junior trusted [Nolan] with a lot of things he didn’t trust anybody else with.”

Lieber Steeg then wrote, without specific attribution: “One of those things was the fact that his Carlsbad plunge was a suicide attempt.”

pioneer female sportswriter, Lieber Steeg in 1993 wrote the “Hard Charger” cover story for Sports Illustrated as Jill Lieber and made good use of her earlier sources.

Sunday’s report, which followed part one of a two-part series a week earlier, also noted the story told by Murray “Moose” Lea, who said he was a witness to the cliff plunge and told local media that he had heard the engine rev as the Cadillac drove toward the Pacific.

Lea later sued Seau—and then his estate—for personal injuries connected to the cliff plunge. But a San Diego Superior Court jury in early September rejected Lea’s claims for as much as $256,000 for lack of proof.

Among other revelations in the story:

  • Seau was heavily in debt to Las Vegas casinos after gambling losses.  Lieber Steeg said his average bet was $38,800.
  • Seau’s ex-wife, Gina—the mother of three of his four children—made a failed effort to bring him out of depression by showing him family life.
  • Seau became a heavy drinker and “there were lots of fights,” the U-T quoted Hall of Famer Warren Moon as saying. “He got very violent when he drank.”
  • Seau’s restaurant in Mission Valley was struggling, and he couldn’t afford the $200,000 improvements needed to compete with newcomer The Tilted Kilt Pub & Eatery.
  • Seau also had lost money in a failed Ruby Tuesday franchise deal, which “resulted in financial woes and eventually became a huge drain on his savings,” the U-T reported.
  • Finally, the U-T reported that Seau had sent text messages to his family and left other hints he was about to kill himself.

The day before he shot himself in the chest, Seau  “sent a group text to Gina, Tyler, Sydney, Jake and Hunter with the words ‘I LOVE YOU.’ … Gina said she received another text from him during this time: ‘ONE OF THE BIGGEST MISTAKES I EVER MADE WAS NOT FIGHTING FOR YOU.’”

Daughter Sydney was quoted as saying: “He’s horrible at technology. I thought he was drunk or just getting back to me from an earlier text. I didn’t respond.”

"Da Moose" October 31, 2012 at 12:16 AM
Now ,I'd like to Thank ,Fox News ,CBS News ,NBC News ,ESPN ,TMZ ,Eyewitness News ,The "U.T." ,North County Time's ,For NOT finding the Time to beat Me up for just checking the waves out ,,, Everyone forgets I saw junior car 20-30 secs befor he allmost Killed me ,you didn't read the police Report like I did. and ken and chanle 10 news found the time and chanle 10 took down the story after I called them out on it http://www.10news.com/video/25434487/index.html My ken should do storys for the National Enquirer thay love bull $hit storys OOOOOOH libi just pull harder
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"Da Moose" December 10, 2012 at 12:09 AM
Zimmerman suing NBC over 911 tape edits http://times247.com/articles/zimmerman-suing-nbc-over-911-tape-edits Mmmmm ,you mean the news can't do what ever thay want???you can't edit or try to defame people ,MMMMM sounds a lot like what ken did to me ... How did ken know "Jurors Share Concerns About ‘Money-Digging’ Homeless Man in Seau Suit" 2 days befor the vedict ??? The Jury was told not to talk to the Media at ALL , then how did ken know "Jurors Share Concerns About ‘Money-Digging’ Homeless Man in Seau Suit" if he wasn't supost to talk to the Jury ...2 days befor the vedict ???MMMMMMM,sounds like ken mite have to explain himself sooooon..
"Da Moose" April 26, 2013 at 02:25 PM
This is the Question Nobody has asked ,"WHY IS THERE NO GUARD RAIL ON PCH THERE" AND 2 1/2 YEARS LATER ,,,STILL NO GUARD RAIL ,Next to a 100+ foot Cliff just 20 feet from a Highway where Cars travel 55+MPH. For all those who though I didn't get Hurt ,I'm on Disability now .Just going to make shur this NEVER HAPPENS AGAIN TO ANYONE,Because that's Who I am.
Lee Hughes July 09, 2013 at 04:26 AM
Professional Athletes, unfortunately have a short career life due to age. It must be very difficult to go from the “Star” of a team or town then retire. Junior’s identity was a football player and a star. Many other players I think have had difficulty with the transition. They find themselves at early middle age to find a new career. Most don’t have a background in business or anything except their sport and have a hard time getting used to not being in the limelight. Junior Seau, was not a perfect person, but none of us are. He did great things for the morale and boosting the kid’s spirit at Oceanside High School that anything is possible. He was a great role model of overcoming economic hardship and perseverance. My heart breaks for him and and his children that he felt this was the only option. No matter how bad things may seem, tomorrow is a clean slate and brand new day.

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