Bobby Wagner will soon experience this first for the first time in his 11-season career: When training camp comes, he’ll be arriving to UC Irvine and not the Virginia Mason Athletic Center.
Wagner will be among the new faces on the Los Angeles Rams when the Super Bowl 56 champions return for camp beginning on July 23. He’s heading to the “Rams House” as one of the last members of the Seattle Seahawks’ run of two NFC conference titles and the franchise’s first and only Super Bowl win in the 2013 season.
But does the 32-year-old and one of the more beloved members of the “12th man” harbor any animosity toward how he exited the Seahawks and how he ended up with the Rams? Wagner revealed where his true feelings are in an interview with Bob Condotta of the Seattle Times released on Friday, July 15.
And among the statements by Wagner in his sit down with the longtime Seahawks reporter: A “different perspective.”
How Wagner Would Have Shared a Different Opinion
The sequence of parting ways with the only NFL team he’s ever played for was an emotional moment as Wagner described to Condotta. However, he told the ‘Hawks beat reporter that he would’ve had a different opinion on the matter had he not signed with the Rams.
“Obviously there are still feelings there [about being released],” he said. “But at the end of the day I have a different perspective. I think my opinion on it would have been different if I ended up somewhere else. But to have the opportunity to go home and play not far from my family. Like I haven’t played this close to my family since high school [Colony High in Ontario, California].”
The Rams eventually made their longtime rival linebacker their top defensive priority during the free agency period of 2022 — signing the eight-time Pro Bowl selection and six-time All-Pro to a blockbuster five-year, $50 million contract which includes a $5 million signing bonus per Spotrac.
The Rams and the Ravens were two of the reported teams who made a dash at the Super Bowl 48 champion — with his former teammate in Seattle Richard Sherman revealing that Baltimore was on him late before Wagner eventually settled on L.A.
‘I Didn’t Want to Leave Seattle’
Wagner left Seattle with one year left on his contract. But, the Seahawks eventually parted ways with him early.
The man who has produced 104 tackles or more in every NFL season he’s played in then shared one more telling admission: He didn’t want to part ways with his first NFL home at first.
“I didn’t want to leave Seattle,” Wagner said. “But if I was going to leave Seattle, home (L.A. area) was the next-best thing for me and so being able to be home, like I’m at peace with the situation.”
While he’ll soon have the Rams defense on his mind when he’s in Orange County in front of Ram fans, he was one more thing on his mind: The day he returns to Seattle, which is on January 8, 2023, saying “any competitor is looking forward to going back to the place that you played.”
Wagner concludes that even with his age and being in new surroundings, he’s ready to show he’s still got some dominance left in his tank.
“I think that I’m in a better position to make plays and I think I’m going to have more opportunities to do some of the things that I was doing early on in my career,” Wagner said. “So I think I’m going to surprise everybody but myself.”