Exclusive interview: Bobby Wagner on Seahawks release, why he joined Rams
After a stellar 10-year run with the Seahawks, perennial All-pro middle linebacker Bobby Wagner is now on another team, and it’s a foe that Seattle will face twice a year.
Wagner remains in the NFC West, but a few weeks after his release by the Seahawks, the 2021 second-team All-Pro signed with the Los Angeles Rams, the reigning Super Bowl champions. Wagner signed a five-year deal that’s reportedly worth up to $50 million to play for his hometown team.
Wagner joined Seattle Sports 710 AM’s Mike Salk Show in an exclusive interview Wednesday to discuss his Seahawks tenure, his release, why he chose to sign with the Rams and much more. Listen to the interview in full here, and we’ll break down some of the key points below.
Communication about his release
A few days after Wagner was released by the Seahawks, he took to Twitter to note that he didn’t hear the news directly from the team, something head coach Pete Carroll and general manager John Schneider each went on to say in a press conference that they regret.
Crazy part about all this. I played there for 10 years & I didn’t even hear it from them that I wasn’t coming back.
— Bobby Wagner (@Bwagz) March 11, 2022
Wagner, who serves as his own agent, was asked by Salk about the communication – or lack thereof – that came with his release.
“I just think that it was an opportunity to communicate and it was missed. I found out through other sources,” Wagner said. “And kind of like what I said in my press conference, I felt like after 10 years we should have been able to just have a conversation.”
Wagner told Salk that he understands that representing himself “kind of make things hard,” but “life is hard.”
“And we’ve been around each other enough, had enough difficult conversations where it shouldn’t have turned out that way,” he said. “But kind of like I said, I have no hatred towards the Seahawks, I have no hatred towards Seattle. I love Seattle. Seattle’s a place I call my home, still to this day, regardless of where I’ll be at. I’ll still be in Seattle. I feel like at some point we’ll have a conversation and right that wrong but we just haven’t yet.”
Why the Rams?
Aside from the ability to play the Seahawks twice a year on a team that just won the Super Bowl, why did Wagner choose to go south to the Rams? Well, for one, he is from the Los Angeles area and wanted to stay on the West Coast. Plus, he’s close to family.
Being with a new team after spending 10 years in Seattle will be quite the change, though.
“You’ve been used to something for 10 years, so you’re kind of not necessarily a rookie, but you come into a new space and you have to relearn everything,” he said. “In Seattle, I knew everybody from the cooks to people in the mailroom to equipment to obviously everybody on the staff. So now it’s kind of building that relationship with everybody. I haven’t met everybody on the team yet but I’m sure we’ll get to that point at some point.”
Wagner said that when he was released, two Rams defensive stars – defensive tackle Aaron Donald and cornerback Jalen Ramsey – reached out to talk to him about “how great it would be to kind of team up.”
“And obviously L.A. is not a hard place to sell,” he added.
Wagner said that having Donald, one of the best defenders in NFL history, push to get him to join the Rams was “humbling.”
“I’m just excited to be around those guys,” he said. “It’s a lot of energy, a lot of people who seem to love what they do.”
After spending 10 years with the Seahawks and in the Seattle area, Wagner made it clear he’ll miss it, but added that Seattle will forever be his home.
“Besides the people, the water, our facility – it’s very rare that you come out to the field and you’re looking at water like that,’ Wagner said. ” … I will say that the city, the people, even when I got released (and) I was walking around the city or when I was walking around town, the amount of people that came up to me that expressed how they felt and (said) I had their support was humbling to me … Seattle will always be a place I’ll return to.”
We will have more breaking down Wagner’s interview with Mike Salk here on SeattleSports.com in the coming days.