(Reuters) - The daughter of the late Junior Seau was emotional but composed as the linebacker was among six players inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio, on Saturday.
Sydney Seau, her voice cracking at times, described her father as “everything” and said that more than anything she wanted was for him to hug her one more time.
“Dad, you gave us your time, your presence, your love but most of all you gave us your heart,” the 21-year-old said of her father, who killed himself in 2012 at the age of 43.
His family later filed a lawsuit against the National Football League alleging that brain damage he suffered during his 20 years in the league led to his suicide.
A study by independent researchers found that Seau, a 12-time Pro Bowler who played for San Diego, Miami and New England, suffered from chronic traumatic encephalopathy, a debilitating brain disease.
League policy does not allow a live speech during a posthumous induction. In a compromise, Seau was allowed to be interviewed onstage after she had unveiled her father’s bronze bust.
“I know at times it seemed as if everything you accomplished in life wasn’t enough, but today and every day since you held me in your arms for the first time, you were more than just enough, you were everything and I hope this induction can exemplify the fact that you are more than Junior Seau, number 55,” she said.
“I want nothing more than to see you come on stage, give the speech you were meant to give, give me a hug and tell me you love me one last time ...but that isn’t a reality.
“His athleticism and talent made him extraordinary enough to make it into the hall but it is his passion and heart that him truly legendary and deserving of this tremendous honor.”
Running back Jerome Bettis, wide receiver Tim Brown, guard Will Shields, center Mick Tingelhoff and Charles Haley were also inducted into the Hall of Fame.
Haley, a linebacker and defensive end, is the only person to have played in five winning Super Bowl teams.
Reporting by Andrew Both in Cary, North Carolina; Editing by Greg Stutchbury