Bobby Wagner: ‘I never really wanted to leave’ Seahawks

Bobby Wagner is back where it all began with the Seattle Seahawks.

A few weeks after being cut by the Los Angeles Rams, the 11-year veteran linebacker signed a deal to return to the Seahawks after one season with their NFC West rivals. 

Wagner explained in a Zoom press conference Wednesday why he’s relishing being back in the Pacific Northwest.

“I never really wanted to leave in the first place,” Wagner told reporters. “Obviously, business happened, and I had an opportunity to go play in the city I grew up in, and so I thought that was cool. And then I want to come back to the city I kind of matured in. For me, it was cool to be able to make that happen. 

“Me being able to represent myself, I always thought it was cool when you had those agents out there that were able to get the player what he wanted, so I wanted to be home, and this was another home of mine, and I wanted to be back.”

Seattle released Wagner last offseason, the same stretch in which it traded star quarterback Russell Wilson to the Denver Broncos. Wagner signed a five-year deal with the Rams, totaling 140 combined tackles, six sacks, five passes defensed and two interceptions in 2022. 

The Rams, though, cut Wagner in March after going 5-12. He later signed a one-year deal with the Seahawks.

Across Wagner’s original 10-year stint with the Seahawks (2012-21), he averaged 138.3 combined tackles, 2.4 sacks, six passes defensed and 1.1 interceptions per season. Wagner was part of Seattle’s Super Bowl XLVIII defense, which surrendered the fewest total yards (273.6) and points (14.4) per game in the 2013 NFL regular season. He has missed just three games since 2015.

Wagner, who said that he’d like to end his career with the Seahawks, referenced a handful of current Seattle players recruiting him, such as defensive back Quandre Diggs, playing a role in his return.

“I think that probably played a part in me coming back,” Wagner said of players Tweeting at him to sign with Seattle. “There was so much love, not only from him [Diggs], but DK [Metcalf], Tyler [Lockett], guys I had played with wanting me back. I think that played a part in it. A lot had changed since then. There were guys who stepped into leadership roles, guys who stepped up, playing wise, and sometimes they don’t want things to go back to the way they were. So to me, those guys, especially Quandre — I don’t think I went a day without seeing a tweet from somebody — it was cool.”

Wagner also told Seattle Sports’ “Brock & Salk Show” that he “never felt any type of way” toward coach Pete Carroll, general manager John Schneider or anybody in Seattle’s building about how they parted ways last year.

Wagner is one of a handful of defensive signings that the Seahawks have made this offseason, defensive linemen Dre’Mont Jones and Jarran Reed and defensive back Julian Love among the others. 

Seattle went 9-8 last season, good for the third NFC wild-card spot, though, it lost to the rival San Francisco 49ers in the wild-card round. The Seahawks own the No. 5 (acquired as part of Seattle’s return from Denver for Wilson) and 20 picks in the 2023 NFL Draft. 

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