Shaun Gayle played 12 seasons in the NFL, 11 with the Chicago Bears. In his second season, the safety was a member of the Bears' Super Bowl XX winning squad. For his final season of professional football, the only one he spent outside of Chicago, Gayle was a San Diego Charger.
When news of Junior Seau's suicide spread on Wednesday, Gayle was an obvious person to contact. He was teammates with both Seau and Dave Duerson, the former Chicago safety who killed himself in February 2011 in part because of a neurodegenerative disease he may have acquired because of concussions sustained from playing football. It's a tragic bit of news, and Gayle is one of the few qualified to speak on both men.
From the Chicago Tribune:
"Guys who play this game, they have a lot of pride," Gayle said. "They don't want to reach out and get help, even though they may need it."
Gayle noted another similarity between Seau and Duerson. Both were achievers and leaders.
"Junior was one of the most confident people I ever met," Gayle said. "He exuded confidence. He is the type of guy who made things happen easily. He always found a way to make things work. Dave was the same."