But he wasn’t in good shape. In the months to come, Seau’s trademark smile would mask a man rapidly unraveling. Outside of the NFL’s spotlight, what emerged was a life marked by depression, drinking, prescription drugs, gambling, financial woes, sexual escapades and strained relationships....
The lack of structure in his life — in particular, the absence of career obligations and responsibilities — increased his depression, and gave him more time to dwell on it.
The diminished offseason physical training, as well as no longer having to devote hours each week to practices and games, meant he generated less adrenaline and fewer endorphins
, which act as antidepressants.
Once Seau retired, it didn’t take long for his life to start coming apart. It happened fast, and it came at him from all angles. And it never seemed to stop...
Beyond his interpersonal strife, Seau was petrified he’d run out of money. Throughout his career, he’d always opened up his wallet to help his family. In retirement, his parents, siblings and extended family still leaned on him to be the major breadwinner despite a severely diminished annual income, and their continued financial expectations became a tremendous burden
“It was fun when he first started playing in the NFL and he bought his parents a house,” his ex-wife, Gina, said. “This is how it is with players, that’s their first big financial goal. But he was always feeling obligated to be an ATM for his family. It was a constant drain. He had a hard time saying no.”