One could argue that linebacker Bobby Wagner is the greatest player in Seattle Seahawks history. His six first-team All-Pro nominations are the most in franchise history, and his eight Pro Bowl appearances sit just one behind quarterback Russell Wilson and offensive tackle Walter Jones.
Wagner was a key member of the ‘Legion of Boom’ defense, which led the Seahawks to two NFC Championships and a Super Bowl title.
But in Week 13, Wagner will play against the Seahawks for the first time.
Wagner first matchup against Seattle comes less than nine months after the team released him to avoid paying his $16.6 million this season. By the end of March, Wagner signed a five-year, $50 million deal with one of Seattle’s division rivals, the Los Angeles Rams.
If the linebacker is holding any ill-will for his former team, though, he didn’t show it when talking about the Week 13 matchup.
“I am a mature man,” Wagner told the media on November 30 when asked about any hard feelings about his Seattle release. “And that happened a long time ago.”
Wagner Found New Home With Rams
The 6-time first-team All-Pro linebacker remained silent about his release for months. That speaks to Wagner’s professionalism. No matter what, getting cut from a place that a player called home for 10 years is never easy.
But Wagner did find a new home in Los Angeles. That wasn’t all that surprising since he grew up in the city.
“I didn’t want to leave Seattle,” Wagner told The Seattle Times’ Bob Condotta on July 15. “But if I was going to leave Seattle, home [Los Angeles] was the next-best thing for me and so being able to be home, like I’m at peace with the situation.
“But still, any competitor is looking forward to going back to the place that you played that they felt like you didn’t have nothing left and proving them wrong.”
Wagner didn’t make first-team All Pro last year for the first time since 2015. But he’s bounced back with an excellent season this year.
Pro Football Focus has Wagner graded as the best overall linebacker in the NFL through 12 weeks this season. PFF also has him rated as the top linebacker in run defense and tackling.
Wagner is leading the Rams with 90 combined tackles this season. He has 3.0 sacks, 4 tackles for loss, 5 quarterback hits and 3 pass defenses as well.
Carroll Raves About Wagner
The Seahawks head coach is known for laying the praise on thick when talking about his players in front of the media. But it was rather easy for Carroll to sing Wagner’s praises when addressing the linebacker in front of the media on November 30.
Wagner was arguably the best linebacker in the NFL from 2014-20. He led the league in tackles twice and solo tackles once during that span. He also finished first in defensive touchdowns in 2015.
“There’s no replacing him [Wagner],” Carroll told the media. “He was a unique, one-of-a-kind guy.”
Carroll praised Wagner for his competitiveness and consistency too. The Seahawks coach is used to battling with Wagner in practice. Carroll will now face the All-Pro linebacker in a game.
“Bobby knows, love competing against him,” Carroll said. “It’s one of things that I’ve always cherished about him. People that you know really well, you want to go against them, battle with them, and I know he will be ready to go.”
The Seahawks will visit the Rams in Week 13 on December 4.