Wagner says he has ‘no hatred’ towards Seahawks

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All-Professional linebacker Bobby Wagner says he has “no hatred” towards the Seattle Seahawks however nonetheless believes they need to have dealt with his launch in a different way.

And he considers the possibility to play his previous workforce twice a 12 months a pleasant bonus to signing with the Los Angeles Rams, even when it wasn’t the rationale he joined Seattle’s division rival.

“Lots of people suppose that it went into my resolution, with the ability to play the Seahawks,” Wagner mentioned Monday through Zoom in his introductory information convention with the Rams. “I haven’t got that a lot hate in my coronary heart. I feel I actually wished to be joyful and I wished to be near dwelling and keep on the West Coast. That was necessary to me. However taking part in the Seahawks twice a 12 months was a cherry on prime, and I am going to be certain that they see me each time we play them. They will know the place I am at and I am going to be certain that I inform them. It will not be a quiet sport for me.”

Wagner spoke with reporters for the primary time since agreeing to a five-year, $50 million contract with the reigning Tremendous Bowl champions final week. A supply informed ESPN that the deal, which Wagner negotiated himself, consists of $20 million in ensures in addition to incentives that give him the chance to earn as much as $23.5 million by means of the primary two seasons.

Wagner, 31, grew to become a free agent for the primary time in his profession when the Seahawks launched him final month, ending a 10-year run in Seattle that included eight Professional Bowls, six First Staff All-Professional alternatives, a Tremendous Bowl championship and a franchise-record 1,383 tackles.

And one messy breakup.

The Seahawks knowledgeable Wagner that he was being launched earlier than ESPN’s Adam Schefter broke the information, however Wagner had already caught wind of the workforce’s plan to maneuver on with youthful gamers at inside linebacker. He voiced his indignation through Twitter and to the workforce straight.

Coach Pete Carroll and basic supervisor John Schneider each took the blame for mishandling the communication. Carroll mentioned he was holding out so long as doable, hoping there can be a approach for Seattle to maintain Wagner. Schneider mentioned the group owed Wagner higher whereas noting one complicating issue within the scenario — that he did not have the standard “buffer” an agent supplies between workforce and participant since Wagner represents himself.

The Seahawks didn’t talk about a brand new contract with Wagner.

“Personally, I feel after 10 years, I feel it is only a easy communication,” Wagner mentioned. “I do not suppose it needed to be that troublesome. I watched their interview. I noticed their apology and I am grateful. However after they mentioned it was as a result of I represented myself, I felt like that half was weak. … Whether or not I had an agent or whether or not I did not have an agent, I nonetheless really feel like that was a dialog they might have had. That is form of the place I stand with it. I am not going to dwell on it. … They’ve already moved on. I moved on, so it’s what it’s at this level. I simply suppose that after 10 years, it may have been a easy dialog, even when they wished to go in a special course. I do not suppose me representing myself performed any half on my finish. It is extra on their finish. Perhaps they did not need to do it, did not need to form of burn that bridge. However I really feel like by means of this course of and the final course of [negotiating his record $54 million extension in 2019], I’ve proven the potential of dealing with the robust conversations that we have had, the robust conversations all through my 10-year profession there. So it is simple to only choose up the telephone.

“I should not have needed to discover out the best way I came upon. However like I mentioned, it’s what it’s. I ended up in an incredible place.”

Wagner, a second-round choose by the Seahawks in 2012, mentioned he by no means thought he was going to go away Seattle and “at all times wished” to be there. As quickly because the Seahawks launched him, he needed to separate the feelings he was feeling as a participant from the job he knew he needed to do as his personal agent.

“The participant form of took it personally however the agent simply went to work,” he mentioned. “So I simply began calling groups and reaching out to groups. I feel a whole lot of groups did not know that I represented myself. So I obtained in touch with groups to ensure that they knew that I used to be the particular person they had been going to succeed in out to straight and simply form of began the method from there. It was positively hectic as a result of like I mentioned, you’ve got been in a spot for 10 years and there was this concept that you just did not suppose that you just had been going to go away and sadly it did not work out that approach, however I ended up in an incredible place, nearer to dwelling and I am excited.”

Wagner is from Ontario, California, about 50 miles east of SoFi Stadium. He nonetheless has household within the space, together with a nephew who’s a senior at his alma mater, Colony Excessive College.

Normal supervisor Les Snead mentioned the Rams “weren’t actually planning for the chance” to signal Wagner. After they came upon he was concerned with taking part in in Los Angeles, Snead mentioned they’d inner discussions about how they might get Wagner and fellow inside linebacker Ernest Jones on the sector collectively, not wanting the up-and-coming Jones to lose taking part in time. Snead mentioned they inspired Wagner to take the time he wanted to speak and go to with different groups, and informed him they’d be affected person on their finish.

Snead had lengthy thought of Wagner the one who obtained away. The Rams wished to draft him within the second or third spherical in 2012 underneath then-coach Jeff Fisher, who was a giant fan. Seattle beat them to the punch. That missed alternative gave method to a brand new organizational philosophy of being extra aggressive for draft prospects that they really need. They name it “The Bobby Wagner Rule.”

“A few thousand tackles later,” Snead mentioned, “we get Bobby Wagner.”

Wagner joins receiver Allen Robinson II as big-name additions to the roster that gained Tremendous Bowl LVI in February. However the Rams have suffered loads of vital subtractions as effectively. Coach Sean McVay mentioned a part of the enchantment with Wagner is that he helps fill the management void created by the departures of left sort out Andrew Whitworth (retirement), outdoors linebacker Von Miller (to the Buffalo Bills in free company) and security Eric Weddle (retirement).

“There is a couple guys on this league that you just get an opportunity to go to after video games since you respect their physique of labor, the best way they strategy it not solely bodily but additionally mentally, and Bobby has at all times been a type of guys,” McVay mentioned. “Simply a whole lot of respect for every part that he is been requested to do in that defensive system. It is positively a profit not having to play in opposition to him. He is a type of guys that may slot in any kind of system.”

Wagner was requested whether or not he thinks his relationship with the Seahawks will probably be mended finally.

“Sooner or later,” he mentioned. “I’ve no hatred in direction of Seattle. I’ve no hatred in direction of the Seahawks. I feel Pete, John, [Jody Allen, the team’s de facto owner]. All these guys, they’re superb. They handled me effectively whereas I used to be there. So like I mentioned, I’ve no hate in my coronary heart. Did I not admire how they dealt with that? I texted them. I allow them to know I did not admire how they dealt with it. So it’s what it’s. It is not one thing that I’ll sit right here and use as motivation. No matter whether or not I play elsewhere or play there, I am a motivated particular person. I do not want additional motivation.

“However that sport in Seattle will certainly be fascinating, for certain.”

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