Lost in the hoopla of Bobby Wagner facing off against his former team. On Sunday, Wagner's Rams will host the Seattle Seahawks, the franchise the veteran linebacker played the first decade of his NFL career with.littered across the Week 13 slate this weekend is
Wagner arrived in Seattle as a second-round draft choice in 2012 and became one of the best players to ever put on a Seahawks uniform. He was an eight-time All-Pro and Pro Bowl selection during his tenure, led the league in tackles twice, and helped the franchise to a Super Bowl XLVIII title in 2013. Wagner is also Seattle's all-time leading tackler.
Given all that history, it's natural for the emotions of this matchup to overtake a person. That said, Wagner is doing his best to treat it as simply another week in the NFL.
"It's just another game," Wagner told reporters, via The Seattle Times. "Just the game coming up played in our stadium against a team that's pretty good."
To keep those emotions in check, Wagner said he's simply following the philosophy of not making himself and the circumstances of him facing his former team a bigger deal than the task at hand --a lesson he learned in Seattle.
"It's pretty easy because like being in that organization that's kind of the method," Wagner said. "You never really make a game too big or too little. You never make like a Monday night game or (other) game bigger or the opponent bigger because then it makes you inconsistent because you'll get up for one game but then you won't get up for the next game. So I'm personally just treating this game like it's a normal game."
The Seahawks released Wagner this offseason as a cap casualty with the club on the doorstep of a rebuild following the trade of Russell Wilson. Wagner admitted this summer that he but did find a home with the Rams, inking a five-year contract worth up to $65 million in late March.
At the time, Wagner's move to L.A. seemed like a promising next step, as he was joining the club that had just won the Super Bowl and leaving one that had just traded away its franchise QB. As the 2022 season has played out, however, things haven't gone as smoothly for the Rams, who come into this matchup particularly injured and in last place in the NFC West at 3-8. Meanwhile, Wagner's old team currently is 6-5 and fighting for a playoff spot.
While there may or may not be some bitter feelings about how his tenure ended, there seems to be tremendous respect on the part of Pete Carroll as Wagner has continued to play at a high level.
"We've been watching and catching him all year, I love watching him," Carroll said. "He's a great player and was a great part of our program. Bobby knows, he knows that I love competing against him. It's one of the things that I've always cherished about him, people that you know really well and want to go against them and battle with them. I know that he will be ready to go."
When asked what he misses about having Wagner in Seattle, Carroll said, "We miss everything about him."
This season, Wagner has played 100% of the Rams defensive snaps and leads the team with 90 total tackles. Wagner has also broken up three passes and has three sacks entering Week 13.