Junior Seau's San Diego restaurant closes after his death

Wed May 16, 2012 9:58pm EDT
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SAN DIEGO (Reuters) - A San Diego restaurant owned by Junior Seau closed its doors for good on Wednesday, two weeks after the former football star shot himself to death at his beachfront California home, trustees for his estate announced.

The popular sports-themed restaurant and sushi lounge, which opened in 1996, closed less than a week after a crowd of 15,000 people turned out to celebrate Seau's life in a memorial at nearby Qualcomm Stadium.

"The trustees made their decision to honor Seau's legacy and preserve the memories of the excitement, fun and warmth that were the hallmarks of the restaurant during the famed linebacker's lifetime," trustee Bette Hoffman said in a statement.

"Without Seau's charismatic leadership, it was felt that the future profitability of the restaurant could be in question," she said.

Hoffman said trustees would honor employee payroll and accrued vacation commitments and said Seau's children wanted to thank patrons for their support over the years.

"Those who had the opportunity to cheer on the Chargers with Junior on a Sunday afternoon at the restaurant will never forget the experience," she said.

Seau, regarded as one of the best defensive NFL players of his generation, died on May 2 at his home in Oceanside, just north of San Diego, after shooting himself in the chest, police said. He left no suicide note.

Seau played most of his 20-year career with the San Diego Chargers and was popular with the community. He retired after the 2009 season.

His death came during heightened scrutiny of the effects of repeated blows to the head in football and other contact sports and into the potential for such injuries to contribute to depression and long-term health problems in players.

(Reporting by Dan Whitcomb; Editing by Cynthia Johnston)

New England Patriots Junior Seau speaks to reporters before training at the Oval Cricket Ground ahead of their NFL game against Tampa Bay Buccaneers in London October October 23, 2009. REUTERS/Luke MacGregor