Patriots' owner Robert Kraft has released a statement with his thoughts and memories of linebacker Junior Seau, who died on Wednesday at 43.
Here is the text of the statement:
"Every day, Junior Seau greeted his teammates and coaches with an energetic ‘Hey, Buddy!’ It was genuine, enthusiastic and backed by his radiant smile. For four seasons, after every game he played, he would always find me in the locker room just to give me a big hug and squeeze tighter than anyone I remember. It was one of the many things I enjoyed about him. He was passionate about football and always spoke with great conviction. He may have been one of the most charismatic Patriots player in franchise history.
"I loved listening to him when he addressed an audience. I will never forget presenting him with his AFC Championship ring at Seau’s Restaurant in San Diego before our game against the Chargers in 2008. It was a memorable moment shared by both Patriots and Chargers fans, who that day celebrated pregame together as Junior Seau fans. He was beloved in his hometown of San Diego and quickly became a fan favorite in New England. Today, the fans of the teams for which Junior played – San Diego, Miami and New England – lost more than a legendary football player. We lost our ‘Buddy.’ My thoughts and prayers are with his family and I extend my sincere condolences to his many friends and former teammates."