Julian Love origin story: "Duct Tape" Love has made every team better when he gets there
2x state champion, Notre Dame legacy, & now a Seahawks DB: Seaside Joe 1570
November 24, 2019 was one of the most emotional and important days of Julian Love’s life, as well as his playing career, and he knew that day would be significant from the moment he was drafted by the New York Giants. He just didn’t know how big that day would be for his football career or how closely the highs and the lows could be intertwined with his personal life.
This is undoubtedly one of the strangest and saddest stories I’ve found throughout this series looking back at the pre-Seahawks football careers of current players on the team. Many of you requested an origin story on new Seattle safety Julian Love and November 24, 2019 serves as a proper pivot point for everything that came after that day, as well as everything that happened on his journey from being born in Westerchester, Illinois to becoming a $12 million safety on the Seahawks this past March.
A fourth round pick of the Giants in 2019, Love immediately marked off Week 12 as his “homecoming” game against the Chicago Bears. (It wasn’t that long ago that the NFL didn’t make such a big showing of the schedule release and it came out before the draft.) He had a group of about 40 people he knew coming to the game to see him play that day, but tragically two others who would never make it. Joey Ramos and Tony Lemon, two childhood friends who Love had known since his earliest days of playing football, were killed in a car accident the weekend before his return to Illinois as a member of the Giants.
This was the game Julian Love eagerly talked about with Joey Ramos and Tony Lemon, seemingly from the moment he was drafted by the New York Giants. Sunday's trip to Soldier Field in Chicago stood out there on the schedule as if it were arranged for the three childhood friends who met more than a decade earlier while playing youth football at the age of 9.
Love would be on the field, Ramos and Lemon had planned on being in the stands cheering him on.
A cruel twist of fate and tragedy has intervened.
Love will head back for his emotional homecoming with a heavy heart after Ramos and Lemon were killed in a one-car accident over the weekend. The men had been missing since Sunday and their car was found and pulled from Lake Michigan on Tuesday.
Love said that the last time he had seen Ramos and Lemon was in April, celebrating the fact that he’d get to return to see them again in November, this time as an NFL player.
“Joey was a big Bears fan, and this is the game where, I have no doubt they’d be there Sunday cheering me on. It’s hard, it’s definitely hard, but they’ll be with me this way, too. They'll be there in spirit.”
After a celebrated career at Notre Dame in which he was one of the most critical players on a team that reached the College Football Playoffs, Julian Love was drafted by the Giants and moved to free safety for the first time, meaning that he didn’t get to play right away. Love had played a total of three snaps on defense over New York’s first 10 games of the 2019 season and he was almost exclusively used on special teams, which is an area he had started to excel at that year as he waited for his turn.
Going into the Bears game though, Giants fans were eager to see Love get more playing time for a 2-8 team that had nothing to lose.