On August 8, former 12-time Pro Bowl linebacker Junior Seau will be posthumously inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Seau, who spent the majority of his 20 seasons in the NFL with the San Diego Chargers, committed suicide in 2012. Studies later concluded that the 10-time All Pro suffered from chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE), a chronic brain injury, which has been found in other deceased NFL players.
Here are nine other gridiron greats who were posthumously inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
Considered one of the greatest defensive ends in NFL history, Reggie White was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2006—two years after the former Philadelphia Eagle suffered a fatal cardiac arrhythmia.
A member of the NFL 75th Anniversary Team, White was a two-time NFL Defensive Player of the Year, 12-time All-Pro selection and 13-time Pro-Bowler. White, who won a Super Bowl as a member of the Green Bay Packers, is second all-time with 198.5 career sacks.
A member of the NFL 1920s All Decade Team, Jim Thorpe was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1963 as a member of the inaugural class. Thorpe, a two-time Olympic gold medalist died 10 years prior to his induction from a heart attack.
One of the most versatile athletes ever, Thorpe was also inducted in the College Football Hall of Fame, Olympic Hall of Fame, and the USA Track and Field Hall of Fame.
A four-time First-Team All Pro, Benny Friedman is regarded by many to be the first great passer in pro football history. Despite revolutionizing the passing game, Friedman wasn’t inducted into the Hall of Fame until 2005.
A player-coach with the New York Giants and Brooklyn Dodgers, Friedman led the league in both passing and rushing touchdowns in 1928—a feat that has never been duplicated. In 1929, he threw for 20 touchdown passes, which stood as an NFL record until 1942.
One of the greatest receivers ever to play for the Dallas Cowboys, Bob Hayes recorded nearly 7,300 receiving yards over 10 seasons as a member of America's Team. Hayes, who was also an Olympic gold medalist in track and field, was posthumously selected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2009.
Considered one of the most difficult receivers to cover, Hayes’ speed forced NFL teams to develop the bump and run and zone defenses. A three-time Pro Bowl selection, Hayes is the only athlete to win a Super Bowl and a gold medal.
Passed over in 32 rounds of the 1948 NFL Draft, Len Ford would go on to be selected to four Pro Bowls and to the NFL 1950s All-Decade Team. Ford, a defensive end, was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1976—four years after suffering a fatal heart attack at 46.
Originally a member of the All-American Football Conference, Ford won three NFL Championships as a member of the Cleveland Browns. In 1996, Ford was inducted into the University of Michigan Athletic Hall of Honor.
A four-time Pro Bowl selection, Henry Jordan played an integral role on the legendary Green Bay Packers teams of the 1960s. A two-time Super Bowl Champion, Jordan was elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1995.
Jordan played 12 seasons in the NFL before being forced to retire due to injuries. Upon retiring, Jordan became executive director of Summerfest, an annual music festival held in Milwaukee. He held the position until his death in 1977.
One of the first African American players in the NFL and the first to become a head coach, Fritz Pollard was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2005—nearly 20 years after his death.
A First-Team All-Pro member in 1920, Pollard was one of the most feared running backs in the early years on the NFL, which was then known as the American Professional Football Association.
A force on both offense and defense, Les Richter made it to eight consecutive Pro Bowls during his nine seasons with the Los Angeles Rams. He was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2011, less than one year after his death.
The versatile Richter intercepted 16 passes during his nine-year career, and also kicked 29 field goals and 106 extra points. In his post-football career, Richter served as senior vice president of operations for NASCAR.
One of the best pass rushers in history, Derrick Thomas was a member of the class of 2009 Pro Football Hall of Fame. Thomas, who played his entire 11-year career with the Kansas City Chiefs, died of complications resulting from a car accident in 2000.
A 9-time Pro Bowler and a member of the NFL 1990’s All Decade Team, Thomas holds the record for most sacks in a single game with seven. Thomas also holds five Chief’s records, including the most career forced fumbles with 41.
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