Chargers Make Seau Richest LB

Pro Bowl linebacker Junior Seau will remain with the San Diego Chargers at least through 2005 under terms of a contract extension announced today.

Financial details weren't released, but club vice president Ed McGuire said Seau will be the NFL's highest-paid linebacker. McGuire said the new contract is both a renegotiation and extension of a $27.1 million deal Seau agreed to in September 1997. That deal, which was to run through 2002, made Seau the NFL's highest-paid linebacker at the time.

Seau, San Diego's emotional leader and a nine-time Pro Bowler, said he's more concerned with trying to return the winless Chargers to the playoffs than being the highest-paid at his position. And he said he might play even beyond this deal.

"God willing, you will see Junior Seau be a deep-snapper if he can be," Seau said. "They're going to have to drag me out of here."

Seau is in his 11th season with his hometown team and has been to the playoffs just three times, including the Chargers' only trip to the Super Bowl. His new deal was announced the morning after the Chargers lost 15-13 to the Oakland Raiders to drop to 0-8, their worst start in 25 years.

Seau said he'd rather lock himself in with the Chargers than ever shop himself around as a free agent.

"I'm not one to jump on a ship that's already arrived," Seau said. "I want to help build one. I have five years to do it and I'm looking forward to it.

"I'm not one to take my family and pull them out of what their comfort zone is. I have kids, I have a wife who are loving San Diego, and I love San Diego. For me to pull them out where they're comfortable, to go search for whatever I'm searching for in the National Football League, that's selfish. I want to stay home."

Seau grew up in suburban Oceanside and was San Diego's first-round draft pick in 1990.

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