SAN DIEGO – Junior Seaus death was ruled a suicide by the San Diego County medical examiners office.
An autopsy Thursday confirmed that the former NFL linebacker died of a gunshot wound to the chest, the medical examiners office said.
Officials said they were awaiting a decision by the family on whether to turn over Seaus brain to unidentified outside researchers for study.
Seau died Wednesday in his home in suburban Oceanside.
Police Chief Frank McCoy said Seaus girlfriend reported finding him unconscious with a gunshot wound to the chest and lifesaving efforts were unsuccessful. A gun was found near him, McCoy said. Police said no suicide note was found and they didnt immediately know who the gun was registered to.
Seaus ex-wife, Gina, told The Associated Press on Wednesday that Seau suffered concussions during his 20-year career. She said she didnt know if the effects of concussions contributed to Seaus death. Seau starred with his hometown San Diego Chargers for 13 years before playing with the Miami Dolphins and New England Patriots.
Ex-U.S. attorney examines bounties
A former U.S. attorney hired by the NFL to evaluate its investigation of the New Orleans Saints bounty program said the evidence shows players received payments for hits on targeted opponents.
Mary Jo White said in a conference call that evidence in the leagues investigation of the three-year pay-for-pain system provided an unusually strong record and came from people with firsthand knowledge and corroborated by documentation.
When asked twice whether any players actually were paid for hits, White confirmed they were without going into specifics. She added that most of the money in the bounty scheme was provided by the players.
Without them, there wouldnt have been a bounty program, she said.
White, the former U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York, was asked in December by the NFL to examine the evidence.
The players sanctioned all activity and enthusiastically embraced this program, White said. They always had the option to say no. They didnt say no.
Richard Smith, outside counsel for the union, disputed Whites evaluation of the evidence.
The four current and former New Orleans players suspended – linebacker Jonathan Vilma for the 2012 season; defensive lineman Anthony Hargrove, now with Green Bay, for eight games; defensive end Will Smith, for four games; linebacker Scott Fujita, now with Cleveland and a member of the unions executive board, for three games – were given three days to appeal when Commissioner Roger Goodell handed down the punishment Wednesday.
Vilma posted on his Twitter account that he will appeal.
100 ex-players sue over concussions
More than 100 former NFL players filed a federal lawsuit in Atlanta claiming that pro football didnt properly protect its players from concussions.
The plaintiffs include former Atlanta Falcon Jamal Anderson, ex-Georgia star Lindsey Scott and veteran quarterback Don Majkowski.
The lawsuit, filed Thursday in federal court in Georgia, claims the league failed to protect NFL players from brain injuries linked to football-related concussions.
They are among more than 1,000 former NFL players suing the league.
The league has said any allegation that the league intentionally sought to mislead players is without merit.
Around the league
Baltimore linebacker Terrell Suggs will have surgery for a partly torn Achilles tendon, an injury he insists will not keep him sidelined for the entire 2012 season.
Free agent running back Ryan Grant, a Notre Dame product who played the past five years for Green Bay, is considering a contract offer from Detroit, his agent said. Chicago waived safety Winston Venable, who had 10 special teams tackles in 12 games last season.
A person familiar with the deal said the Jets and second-round draft pick Stephen Hill agreed to terms on a four-year contract worth just under $5 million. New York traded with Seattle to move up four spots to No. 43 and took the former Georgia Tech receiver.