Junior Seau voted into NFL Hall of Fame

SAN DIEGO (CNS) – The late San Diego Chargers linebacker Junior Seau was elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame Saturday in his first year of eligibility, while the late Chargers coach Don Coryell failed to be elected.

Two alumni of San Diego high schools, Terrell Davis and John Lynch, were also among the 10 finalists failing to be elected by the 46-person Selection Committee which met in Phoenix for nine hours today in conjunction with Super Bowl XLIX.

Seau was selected by the Chargers with the fifth choice in the 1990 NFL draft after playing at Oceanside High School and USC and spent the first 13 of his 20-season professional career with the team.

Seau was selected for 12 consecutive Pro Bowls, matching the third-longest streak and longest by a Charger. He was named the Chargers’ MVP a team-record six times.

“From the day we drafted Junior, we knew he was special,” Chargers Chairman of the Board-President Dean Spanos said.

“He was such an energized, charismatic person. He attacked life the same way he attacked ball carriers. It’s that passion that turned him into the Hall of Fame player he is.”

Seau completed his NFL career by playing for the Miami Dolphins from 2003-05 and New England Patriots from 2006-09. He died at the age of 43 in May 2012 of a self-inflicted gunshot wound at his Oceanside home.

Seau was among the maximum of five modern era players to be elected as part of this Hall of Fame class, along with running back Jerome Bettis, receiver Tim Brown, defensive end Charles Haley and guard Will Shields.

The senior finalist, Mick Tingelhoff, a Minnesota Vikings center from 1962-78, was also elected, as were the two contributor finalists, former NFL executives Bill Polian and Ron Wolf.

The class will be formally inducted in the Pro Football Hall of Fame on Aug. 8 at Tom Benson Hall of Fame Stadium in Canton, Ohio.

The Selection Committee first discussed the merits of Tingelhoff and he received at least an 80 percent positive vote. It then reviewed the careers of Polian and Wolf, voting on them individually, with both receiving an 80 percent positive vote.

The Selection Committee then reviewed the 15 Modern Era finalists. Coryell, Davis and Lynch were among the five finalists eliminated from consideration. Five other finalists were removed after one more round of discussion. Each of the five remaining finalists were then voted on individually and received the necessary 80 percent vote needed to be elected.

Coryell coached the Chargers from 1978-86, guiding them to a 69-56 record, including three AFC West Division championships. He began his NFL career by coaching the then-St. Louis Cardinals to a 42-27-1 record from 1973-77, including NFC East Division championships in 1974 and 1975.

Coryell coached San Diego State from 1961-72, guiding the Aztecs to NCAA College Division national championships in 1966, 1967 and 1968 and a 104-19-2 record. He was inducted to the College Football Hall of Fame in 1999.

Coryell is the only coach to win 100 games in both college and the NFL. He died in 2010 at age 85.

Davis, a Lincoln High alumnus, was a three-time Pro Bowl selection and MVP of Super Bowl XXXII, when he rushed for 157 yards and three touchdowns in the Denver Broncos’ 31-24 victory over the Green Bay Packers at Qualcomm Stadium.

Davis — who played at Long Beach State before the school dropped football and then transferred to the University of Georgia — rushed for a team-record 7,607 yards for the Broncos from 1995-2001 after being chosen in the sixth round of the 1995 draft.

Lynch, a Torrey Pines High alumnus, was a nine-time Pro Bowl selection at safety when he played for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers from 1993-2003 and Denver Broncos from 2004-2007.

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