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Seahawks LB Bobby Wagner: People ‘sleeping on the talent we have’

Seahawks LB Bobby Wagner recorded 1.5 sacks and 97 tackles last season. (AP)

After parting ways with longtime veterans like Richard Sherman, Michael Bennett and Cliff Avril, the narrative for this year’s Seahawks season has been akin to a fresh start. But there’s at least one player who doesn’t see it that way – and he cautions those who underestimate Seattle’s squad.

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“For me, I think a lot of people are sleeping on the talent that we have in the room,” linebacker Bobby Wagner told Brock Huard and Mike Salk during an interview with 710 ESPN Seattle Monday morning. “A lot of people are saying it’s a fresh start. No, it’s just kind of that mentality. We had guys that left for whatever reason and it’s the next-guy-up mentality.

“A lot of people that wanted a chance, that have been really trying to get on that field, they (now) have their opportunity to take advantage of it. And that’s how I feel about it. I’m happy for everybody, everybody seems to be in a situation that they love. So it’s going to be fun – and I’m excited to play Sherm.”

Some of those players who now have an opportunity could be defensive backs Michael Tyson, Delano Hill and Tedric Thompson, all of whom were drafted in 2017 and spent most of last season on special teams. But with the possible departure of strong safety Kam Chancellor, who is set to have scans next month on what was a season-ending neck injury, the younger safeties will have a chance to compete for a starting spot.

Another rookie will be competing for playing time alongside Wagner and K.J. Wright in the linebacker group: Shaquem Griffin. He’ll have a chance to get playing time in with veterans Monday afternoon when Seattle kicks off the first day of OTAs.

“Today will be the first time we see him on the field outside of the drills,” Wagner said. “But in drills he looks great.

“And it’s been fun. We’ve been poking fun at him because I’ve got two rookies (now), they’re twins too, so you’ve gotta give (them a hard time),” Wagner said in reference to Griffin’s twin brother, Shaquill, a second-year corner with Seattle.

Even as Seattle enters the third phase of offseason programs, question marks linger regarding Earl Thomas’ status with the team. The All-Pro safety, who was rumored to be in contract negotiations and has been the subject of trade talks, was absent from voluntary workouts. At the close of his interview with Huard and Salk, Wagner offered an unprompted shoutout to his teammate.

“Before we get off, I would like to take this time to shoutout to Earl Thomas,” Wagner said. “I think he’s an amazing player, he’s an amazing person, he’s a Hall of Famer. And just let him know that we’re over here and we’re wishing for the best in that situation and we’re thinking about him. And I just want him to know that.

“Just because he needs to know,” Wagner said, when asked why he offered that sentiment. “He needs to know that we appreciate him over here. Because he’s a talent that – you’re not going to ever see another person like him ever again play the football field.”

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