Seau says he was kidding with 'watermelon' remark

Updated: October 22, 2003, 7:12 PM ET

DAVIE, Fla. -- Dolphins linebacker Junior Seau insists he meant no harm when he suggested the way to stop former teammate LaDainian Tomlinson is to feed him fried chicken and watermelon.

Tomlinson, whose Chargers face the Dolphins on Monday night, said he was not angered by the comments. Dolphins officials backed Seau and agreed that he intended no malice.

Asked Wednesday how to limit Tomlinson, San Diego's star running back, Seau told reporters: "You give him watermelon and load him up with fried chicken and tell him to keep eating."

Seau, who is of Samoan descent, later said he and Tomlinson, who is black, are friends and the comment was meant in jest. Seau was wearing a Tomlinson jersey when he made the comment.

"We ate that all the time. We'd have fried chicken every Friday," Seau said. "I'm sorry you guys took it that way. I should have realized it was an oversight on my part. I'm sorry it came out that way."

Tomlinson said he laughed when he heard Seau's words.

"I wasn't offended at all," Tomlinson said. "You just have to know Junior. He's silly like that."

Dolphins coach Dave Wannstedt said that anyone who found Seau's comment to be racially insensitive was doing the player "a grave disservice."

"I'm sure Junior wasn't thinking in any type of overtone," Wannstedt said.

Monday's game will mark Seau's return to San Diego as an opponent. He played for the Chargers from 1990-02.

Seau has been honored in the past for his foundation's charity work and philanthropy, earning the NFL's Man of the Year award in 1994. He's also scheduled to host a luncheon honoring current San Diego quarterback Drew Brees for his charity work on Tuesday.

"Hopefully, everyone can know who I am and who I stand for and that there isn't anything to look into," Seau said.

When Tiger Woods won the Masters in 1997, golfer Fuzzy Zoeller created a stir by saying: "Tell him not to serve fried chicken next year ... or collard greens, or whatever the hell they serve."

Zoeller was referring to the Masters' champions dinner, when the reigning tournament winner chooses the menu.

This story is from ESPN.com's automated news wire. Wire index