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Junior Seau, brain disease findings won't stop NFL playoffs this weekend

Findings suggest brain disease from years of hits to head led to ex-NFLer Junior Seau's suicide.
Junior seau brain disease cteEnlarge
Junior Seau of the New England Patriots lines up on defense against the Baltimore Ravens during the 2010 AFC wild-card playoff game at Gillette Stadium on January 10, 2010 in Foxboro, Massachusetts. (Al Bello/AFP/Getty Images)

Findings that prove Junior Seau suffered brain disease from years of hits to the head trouble former players, but won’t stop NFL playoff games this weekend.

Ex-Pro Bowl quarterback Boomer Esiason is among the most outspoken, saying “it’s really bad” for the game.

“I’m just telling you, this is not good for football — at all,” Esiason said on his radio show.

“You read some of the quotes from (his son) Tyler Seau … about who (Junior) was, how he was acting, his whole personality traits and all that other stuff — it’s not good.”

Seau committed suicide last May. He shot himself in the chest so – some speculate – his brain could be studied.

His family had Seau’s brain tested, and on Thursday the National Institutes of Health conclusions surfaced through an ABC News/ESPN exclusive report.

The autopsy revealed Seau suffered from chronic traumatic encephalopathy, a brain disease that can lead to dementia and depression.

“He would sometimes lose his temper,” Tyler Seau told ESPN. “He would get irritable over very small things. And he would take it out on not just myself, but also other people that he was close to. And I didn’t understand why.”

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Seau, who was 43 when he died, played 20 seasons in the NFL.

Players who will strap on pads for this weekend’s NFL playoff games say they can’t let anything cloud their judgements on Sunday.

San Francisco 49ers linebacker Tavares Gooden told USA Today that he undergoes CAT scans to ensure his brain health.

“You can only live for right now,” he said at USAToday.com.

“You only think about the good side, and that's what everybody does. You leave the rest to God and you pray and hope that nothing happens to you.''

The New England Patriots will face the Houston Texans this weekend for the chance to advance in the AFC post-season.

Patriots' offensive lineman Logan Mankins said he realizes he’s perpetuating the myth of the “meat-headed” football player with his reaction, but that’s not going to stop him from playing.

“It’s the playoffs right now so that’s the least of our concerns now,” he said, Comcast Sportsnet reported.

“You could probably say we’re meat-headed and ignorant not to think about it, but maybe in February, after the season, we can think about it.”

The National Football League and individual teams commit millions to research that make the game safer, but said little directly about Seau.

The NFL is also facing multi-million-dollar lawsuits from nearly 4,000 former players over what they say is a failure to prevent or treat brain injuries.

“'We appreciate the Seau family’s cooperation with the National Institutes of Health,” said a league statement released to The Associated Press. “The finding underscores the recognized need for additional research to accelerate a fuller understanding of CTE.”

More from GlobalPost: Troy Polamalu adds to NFL’s concussion headaches 

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