CHICAGO -- By the time Jake Peavy arrived in the big leagues with the Padres during the 2002 season, Junior Seau was completing a legendary 13-year run with the San Diego Chargers.
"When I got out there, he was larger than life," Peavy said of Seau, who was found dead in his Southern California home Wednesday morning from a possible self-inflicted gunshot wound.
"He was obviously a great player, and I'm sure he'll be remembered as that," Peavy said. "But Junior was a great person and a lot of fun. He was a happy person. When he walked in the room, it changed. Junior Seau in San Diego was larger than life, as he should have been. It's an awfully sad day for any of us who got the chance to know him."
Peavy last crossed paths with his friend this past winter, with the two playing golf in the same "circle of friends and athletes." The White Sox right-hander also felt for Seau's family, whom he knows a little bit.
But what happened to Seau and former Bears safety Dave Duerson in February 2011 showed once again that athletes put on pedestals for their on-field ability deal with the same issues and problems off the field as everyday people.
"It certainly brings you back down to understand we are all human beings," Peavy said. "We all go through difficult times and good times as well as the average person does. I just hope people will remember Junior the way I choose to remember him. That's a happy-go-lucky, fun-loving guy who made other people's lives better with the charity work he did, and Junior was an amazing man.
"Just a tough day for anybody who has been around Junior and his family as well. It's just disappointing for anything like this to happen to anybody. Somebody you know and you've been around and shared some good times with, it's a sad day."