FOXBOROUGH, Mass. (AP) -Despite having his first season in New England cut short by a broken arm, Junior Seau has been chosen by his teammates to be one of the Patriots' seven captains this year.
The players selected Seau, 38, in a vote this week, along with quarterback Tom Brady, running back Kevin Faulk, defensive end Ty Warren and linebackers Tedy Bruschi, Mike Vrabel and Larry Izzo, the Patriots said Thursday.
``It's one of the greatest honors you can ever have as a player,'' Seau said. ``I'm definitely humbled by it.''
Seau ended a brief retirement to play for New England last year, but broke his arm in November. He re-signed in May and figures to be a key reserve for a Patriots team aiming for a fifth straight AFC East title.
Seau said coming back from his injury made the captaincy ``even more special now.''
``It's just the respect factor,'' said Faulk, a nine-year veteran who was voted a captain for the first time. ``Guys have seen (Seau) play, they know what he's about from being in camp with him. They know exactly what type of guy he is as a person and as a player.''
Seau has been picked for the Pro Bowl 12 times and been an All-Pro six. His 241 career games put him third among NFL linebackers, trailing only Clay Matthews (278) and Bill Romanowski (243).
Seau joked he ``lobbied'' for the captaincy, but said his resume carried no weight with his Patriots teammates.
``It doesn't automatically clear you to be a captain,'' he said. ``What you have to do here is you have to earn it. You have to earn respect. It's not something that you can buy. You can't come here and show how many Pro Bowls you have. This isn't the place to do it, and it will never work in (this) locker room.
The Patriots open their season Sunday at the New York Jets.
``It's a game where everyone has such high hopes,'' Seau said. ``And when you have high hopes and you go out there and you don't perform well, then suddenly that could really flip. We don't want to be on that side. Other than that, it's the first game of a long journey.''
New England will be without safety Rodney Harrison, a longtime teammate of Seau's in San Diego who is serving a four-game suspension for violating the league's policy on performance-enhancing drugs.
Five-time Pro Bowl defensive end Richard Seymour is on the physically unable to perform list and will miss at least the first six weeks.
Harrison, Seymour and receiver Troy Brown, also on the list, were captains last season, but weren't re-elected. They could be added as captains later in the season.

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