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(Reuters) - Late NFL great Junior Seau was among 18 finalists announced for the Pro Football Hall of Fame on Thursday. Seau, who spent the majority of his career as a ferocious linebacker with the San Diego Chargers, committed suicide in 2012, three years after his retirement.
Seau, named to the Pro Bowl 12 times over his two decades in the league, died in May 2012 after shooting himself in the chest at his beachfront home in Oceanside, California.
A study of Seau's brain revealed that he suffered from chronic traumatic encephalopathy, or CTE, a debilitating brain condition caused by repeated jolts to the head that can lead to aggression and dementia.
Seau joins a decorated group of first-year nominees that also includes quarterback Kurt Warner and lineman Orlando Pace. The finalists will be voted on by the selection committee and announced on Jan. 31 in Phoenix, the day before the Super Bowl. Other notable names up for consideration include Jerome Bettis, Tim Brown, Terrell Davis, Marvin Harrison and coaches Jimmy Johnson and Tony Dungy.
Writing by Jahmal Corner in Los Angeles; Editing by Peter Rutherford