Report: Junior Seau Confessed His 2010 Carlsbad Cliff Plunge Was Suicide Try

Investigative story on Chargers great reveals gambling debts, hard drinking and business losses.

Junior Seau told his estranged girlfriend Mary Nolan in January 2011 that his 60 mph drive off a Carlsbad cliff three months earlier was a suicide attempt, according to an 8,800-word article Sunday in U-T San Diego.

Headlined “Bitter endgame,” the investigative piece by Jill Lieber Steeg described a “perfect storm” of factors that ended with the NFL great’s May 2 suicide at his Oceanside home.

In the days and weeks after driving his Cadillac Escalade off the cliff at Carlsbad Boulevard and Solamar Drive, Seau told his former teammates and other friends that he had fallen asleep, the U-T reported in a story that could gain a Pulitzer nomination.

“A month after the domestic violence episode [with Nolan] and the cliff incident, they started talking and quietly rekindled their relationship,” the report said. “In mid-January 2011, a day after his birthday, Seau and Nolan saw each other for the first time since she walked out. He asked her to move back to Oceanside, but she said no, not unless he corrected the issues in his life—his drinking, gambling and infidelity.”

In Sunday’s story, Lieber Steeg quoted a Seau friend, Jamie Paulin, as saying: “Junior trusted [Nolan] with a lot of things he didn’t trust anybody else with.”

Lieber Steeg then wrote, without specific attribution: “One of those things was the fact that his Carlsbad plunge was a suicide attempt.”

pioneer female sportswriter, Lieber Steeg in 1993 wrote the “Hard Charger” cover story for Sports Illustrated as Jill Lieber and made good use of her earlier sources.

Sunday’s report, which followed part one of a two-part series a week earlier, also noted the story told by Murray “Moose” Lea, who said he was a witness to the cliff plunge and told local media that he had heard the engine rev as the Cadillac drove toward the Pacific.

Lea later sued Seau—and then his estate—for personal injuries connected to the cliff plunge. But a San Diego Superior Court jury in early September rejected Lea’s claims for as much as $256,000 for lack of proof.

Among other revelations in the story:

  • Seau was heavily in debt to Las Vegas casinos after gambling losses.  Lieber Steeg said his average bet was $38,800.
  • Seau’s ex-wife, Gina—the mother of three of his four children—made a failed effort to bring him out of depression by showing him family life.
  • Seau became a heavy drinker and “there were lots of fights,” the U-T quoted Hall of Famer Warren Moon as saying. “He got very violent when he drank.”
  • Seau’s restaurant in Mission Valley was struggling, and he couldn’t afford the $200,000 improvements needed to compete with newcomer The Tilted Kilt Pub & Eatery.
  • Seau also had lost money in a failed Ruby Tuesday franchise deal, which “resulted in financial woes and eventually became a huge drain on his savings,” the U-T reported.
  • Finally, the U-T reported that Seau had sent text messages to his family and left other hints he was about to kill himself.

The day before he shot himself in the chest, Seau  “sent a group text to Gina, Tyler, Sydney, Jake and Hunter with the words ‘I LOVE YOU.’ … Gina said she received another text from him during this time: ‘ONE OF THE BIGGEST MISTAKES I EVER MADE WAS NOT FIGHTING FOR YOU.’”

Daughter Sydney was quoted as saying: “He’s horrible at technology. I thought he was drunk or just getting back to me from an earlier text. I didn’t respond.”

LemonGroove October 23, 2012 at 04:02 PM
Can you imagine how his family feels when everyone is saying what a great guy he was but you are so angry at him? Can you imagine how they feel that this "great guy" took himself away from them, for ever? I would be so incredibly angry. Also note that suicides follow other relatives suicides, so I hope the whole family is in counseling to prevent that statistic. I would be devastated, devastated, if one of my children loved me so little that they would take their own life, rather than stay with me in life. I would feel so guilty. The whole family is just left with anger and guilt and they are not even responsible. It was Seau who did this crappy thing to his family and left the scene for someone else to clean up. Someone told me that God never gives you more than you can handle.
SEG October 23, 2012 at 06:40 PM
Seau's parents, family and friends need all the comforting prayers now. I hope they only see and read the good thoughts of Jr.
"Da Moose" October 24, 2012 at 04:22 AM
I took out my DMV Hand book and you know what it said about point a car in the direction of person with there back facing the car ? there soooo many Brilliantly smart people here on the "Hey u alll watch this Alabamapatch" I bet there's one person on here that will know ,,,, come on just one person, ken, georgy boy ,,ooo that oreally guy ,,,,I KNOW WHO WILL KNOW "LIBI" WILL KNOW "LIBI" KNOWS EVERYTHING ABOUT ANYTHING, EVEN THOUGHT SHE NEVER DONE IT.OOOOO YEAH SHE SAW IT ON T.V. OR READ IT ON THE INTERNET,,,
sheeple herder October 24, 2012 at 04:45 AM
Moose, If you were more proficient in typing the English language appropriately, maybe, just maybe, more people might be sympathetic to your cause. Instead, you come off as a person who can't get their point across in a coherent manor....
Danny October 24, 2012 at 05:14 AM
"well said" "you're" an idiot!
Danny October 24, 2012 at 05:21 AM
People dont chose to be ill you moron! So if they are and that illness has symptoms that dont include you, but do include the need to check out because those symptoms are so bad, forgive the hell out of the ill person you selfish "well" moron!
Danny October 24, 2012 at 05:23 AM
Dude, go away!
Danny October 24, 2012 at 05:39 AM
To the spell checkers, do you ever have to spell check after you write something? Yes, of coarse you do! Why do you (?) cause you care! Theres the difference between at least myself and you. I could care-less if a word or two or to or too in my entire post is mispelled. It always turns out its easy to figure out what the person is saying! Why is it not a big deal? Simple, this is the internet, this is not an essay report and I am not a student looking for a grade and you will never see my face or affect my life let-alone with a grade. So take your chicken (sh)it need to put someone down and get a clue. I Don't give a rats (@)ss if every word is incorrectly spelled, or what you think if one is, you just don't matter to me to make it perfect, and thats just a fact, because I dont know you, you might be doing something much much worse in life then myself misspelling a word, lol, to be degrading me over a word or two! The focus is on what we are talking about, to take focus off that over a slightly misspelled word, such as "your = you're" is immature and a revealing sign of someone in need of badly needing to feel like someone, that they aren't otherwise by correcting someone else! GET A LIFE!
sheeple herder October 24, 2012 at 04:54 PM
It is simple, spelling and grammatical errors make people come across as less educated, and lazy. If you're taking the time to type out your point of view, put an ounce of effort into it. Not only is it easier to read, people may take someone's point more seriously if it looked like an adult typed it vs. it looking like a text message from a teenager. Just a thought....
Kevin George October 24, 2012 at 05:22 PM
So now he was "pointing" the car at you? This story changes more often than your underwear.
LemonGroove October 24, 2012 at 06:01 PM
Hey Danny, when someone has Diabetes,asthma, severe heart conditions, malignant tumors and the such, but doesn't do anything about it, what do we call them? Mental health needs to be taken care of not ignored. There is help out there if, you aren't to stubborn to get it. I'm sure we all know people with health issues that want to pretend they are not sick, but it doesn't mean it will go away. In the meantime family and friends get to watch them suffer, needlessly. Don't even insinuate that I don't know what I'm speaking of, because I do. Do you? Suicide is the ultimate selfish act, whether it be overdosing, shooting, running away from cops with a pencil in your hand, jumping or even not taking prescribed meds. It is still selfish.
LemonGroove October 24, 2012 at 06:02 PM
Oh sorry, that should be "too stubborn"
LemonGroove October 24, 2012 at 06:03 PM
I have been put in the "Pending Approval" limbo.
"Da Moose" October 24, 2012 at 07:39 PM
WHERE GORGIE BOY DID I SAY JUNIOR POINTED HIS SUV AT ME ,,, U SAID IT ,,I SAID I took out my DMV Hand book and you know what it said about point a car in the direction of person with there back facing the car ? THAT WHAT I SAID. YEP I SAID TOO I WAS WITH IN 10 FEET ,,,I WAS SO CLOSE I SAW THE BACK OF HIS HEAD ,,,JUST LIKE I TOLD THE POLICE,,, I WOULD SAY THATS WITH IN 10 FEET ,GO GET YOUR STANLLY 25 OUT AND TELL ME
"Da Moose" October 24, 2012 at 07:42 PM
libi still can't get her head out of her a$$ ,she hasn't had a chance to read this yet
Kevin George October 24, 2012 at 08:28 PM
Are you in the habit of quoting the DMV handbook for no apparent reason? Who were you talking about if you weren't talking about yourself and Seau? The other hilarious change in your pathetic story is your attitude toward Jr. You were saying that you were " buds" and talked ever day and you would go to the track with him and now you're saying sarcastically" WOW WHAT A GREAT MAN". And " ,HE JUST MISS HITTING ME BY A FOOT" If he missed you by a foot why would you have any reason to say " Within ten feet of me", why didn't you say a foot? Don't bother answering, I already know why, it's because you are so delusional that fact and fiction meld together in your THC and alcohol soaked mind.
"Da Moose" October 25, 2012 at 07:49 PM
I have a peice of paper from farmers insurance that says thay did a full investigation on "the car accident" ,,, Junior confused to being a wake when he just miss hitting me ,I wonder how he fooled professional investigator's like he did???what do you think Pro's found out??? and were thay hiding the facts. where's the Black box and why did thay not release there discovery to me???lot of unanswered question's to Junior-Gate ,that what my friends are starting to call it PULL HARD LIBI YOU'LL GET IT OUT
"Da Moose" October 25, 2012 at 07:51 PM
Jane Tanaka MD October 25, 2012 at 08:19 PM
Better education of athletes and their families and their fans, about traumatic brain injuries which increase risk of mood lability, impulsivity, difficulities in cognition/decision making suicide risk... and less stimatization of these NEUROLOGICAL sequelae of these brain injuries... and better prevention of these injuries from school age coaching on up, are all needed. There are medications prescribed by neurologists and psychiatrists ( for example, antiseizures medications such as trileptal,tegretol, neurontin) that can help with these neurological side effects...not just psychotherapy. There are also physical therapists, occupational therapists and neuropsychologists who specialize in TBI that can help. Treating any comorbid/premorbid psychiatric diagnoses and any alcohol or substance abuse is also very important in preventing suicide in people with TBI. For more information about research that looked at the risk of suicide in people with TBI, please go to : http://jnnp.bmj.com/content/71/4/436.full.
Kevin George October 25, 2012 at 08:45 PM
Sorry Moooch, I can't figure out what you're talking about. Try to focus.
Doug Curlee October 25, 2012 at 09:32 PM
kevin.. i would hurry to point out that it has never been established that the moose has EVER changed his underwear.. physical appeareance alone would seem to argue against it.. doug
Kevin George October 25, 2012 at 09:48 PM
Thanks Doug glad someone caught on. I should have included " if applicable". I'm not sure he owns any.
Batman October 25, 2012 at 10:13 PM
Are you sure this is a result of brain trauma? This scenario sounds eerily familiar to that of actor Freddie Prinze who committed suicide back in the 1970s. What do you do when you have it all, and it's not enough?
safesantee October 26, 2012 at 01:59 AM
In a normal winter, 130 moose could die from car collisions within the Anchorage, AK city limits alone. http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2007/01/31/tech/main2417996.shtml And to top that this moose can type, use the internet, surf, wakeboard, ride a bike all amazingly without ever using his lowerbody/lower-moose-paws(I don't know what you call em!), we shouldn't be bullying him, he's a living miracle!
Jane Tanaka MD October 27, 2012 at 12:10 AM
No , we are not sure, Batman. The autopsy didnt show gross findings of head trauma. However, according to another writer, " Though his autopsy showed no brain damage, the presence of CTE (Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy), a disease of the brain found in individuals with a history of repetitive brain injuries, in deceased NFL linebacker Junior Seau's brain remains largely unclear. The initial coroner's report proves very little when it comes to Seau's condition as it related to CTE, two sources with direct knowledge of the concussion lawsuit against the NFL and the medical process, said Monday. "It's very important to emphasize that this was the coroner's report, not the CTE study," said a medical source involved with the lawsuit. "People with CTE, even in their 40s, rarely if ever have gross abnormalities with their brain. You can't determine whether there's CTE through an autopsy." ...... But we do know may people with recurrent head injuries do suffer terribly from cognitive, mood and impulse control problems.
"Da Moose" October 31, 2012 at 12:16 AM
Now ,I'd like to Thank ,Fox News ,CBS News ,NBC News ,ESPN ,TMZ ,Eyewitness News ,The "U.T." ,North County Time's ,For NOT finding the Time to beat Me up for just checking the waves out ,,, Everyone forgets I saw junior car 20-30 secs befor he allmost Killed me ,you didn't read the police Report like I did. and ken and chanle 10 news found the time and chanle 10 took down the story after I called them out on it http://www.10news.com/video/25434487/index.html My ken should do storys for the National Enquirer thay love bull $hit storys OOOOOOH libi just pull harder
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"Da Moose" December 10, 2012 at 12:09 AM
Zimmerman suing NBC over 911 tape edits http://times247.com/articles/zimmerman-suing-nbc-over-911-tape-edits Mmmmm ,you mean the news can't do what ever thay want???you can't edit or try to defame people ,MMMMM sounds a lot like what ken did to me ... How did ken know "Jurors Share Concerns About ‘Money-Digging’ Homeless Man in Seau Suit" 2 days befor the vedict ??? The Jury was told not to talk to the Media at ALL , then how did ken know "Jurors Share Concerns About ‘Money-Digging’ Homeless Man in Seau Suit" if he wasn't supost to talk to the Jury ...2 days befor the vedict ???MMMMMMM,sounds like ken mite have to explain himself sooooon..
"Da Moose" April 26, 2013 at 02:25 PM
This is the Question Nobody has asked ,"WHY IS THERE NO GUARD RAIL ON PCH THERE" AND 2 1/2 YEARS LATER ,,,STILL NO GUARD RAIL ,Next to a 100+ foot Cliff just 20 feet from a Highway where Cars travel 55+MPH. For all those who though I didn't get Hurt ,I'm on Disability now .Just going to make shur this NEVER HAPPENS AGAIN TO ANYONE,Because that's Who I am.
Lee Hughes July 09, 2013 at 04:26 AM
Professional Athletes, unfortunately have a short career life due to age. It must be very difficult to go from the “Star” of a team or town then retire. Junior’s identity was a football player and a star. Many other players I think have had difficulty with the transition. They find themselves at early middle age to find a new career. Most don’t have a background in business or anything except their sport and have a hard time getting used to not being in the limelight. Junior Seau, was not a perfect person, but none of us are. He did great things for the morale and boosting the kid’s spirit at Oceanside High School that anything is possible. He was a great role model of overcoming economic hardship and perseverance. My heart breaks for him and and his children that he felt this was the only option. No matter how bad things may seem, tomorrow is a clean slate and brand new day.


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