Seaman on return: 'It's got a special meaning'

Seaman on return: 'It's got a special meaning'

MAHOMET — Busch Stadium was great to Jason Seaman when he was honored ahead of a Cardinals game this summer.

Wrigley Field will be similar in two weeks.

And at Lucas Oil Stadium, professional soccer team Indy Eleven showed him a nice time.

But none of those places was home.

That's what made Friday night's ceremony different — albeit in front of a decidedly smaller crowd at Frank Dutton Field before the Mahomet-Seymour football team beat Charleston 49-20 — for the local hero, who tackled a shooter in his classroom at Noblesville West Middle School in Indiana where is a science teacher, likely saving lives in the process.

"Those are fun, but it's just not the personal connection," Seaman said. "This is home, so it's got a special meaning. It's where I grew up, it's where I played, it's got a lot of sentimental value. So it might not be as big or as full as that, but it's up there."

Seaman was honored with a framed No. 99 Mahomet-Seymour jersey, the number he wore when he starred at defensive end for the Bulldogs from 2003-06 before he was named The News-Gazette's 2007 Male Athlete of the Year.

The city also honored him by naming a street after him, and he was given a replica road sign that read "Honorary Jason Seaman St."

"It was bigger than I thought it would be," he said. "It caught me off guard. I had heard enough about it, but seeing it was a different story ... I don't know (where we'll put it). I've got a lot of stuff I've put on the walls, but we'll find a place for it."

The soft-spoken Seaman, who hasn't been back for a football game in years because he coaches Noblesville West Middle School's team, has become accustomed to the honors after the May shooting, even if his personality doesn't exactly lend itself to constant public praise.

Friday, though, he smiled comfortably as he walked throughout the stadium, greeting person after person as he held his young son on his shoulders.

"There are a lot of people I went to school with, had kids," Seaman said. "And it's fun to have their kids meet my kids, so it's just more personal. It just means that much more."