Source: CVDaily Feed
LOGAN, Utah – Former Utah State linebacker Bobby Wagner is not satisfied, despite the fact the All-Pro middle linebacker for the Seattle Seahawks already has one Super Bowl ring to his name.
Wagner has already racked up 364 combined tackles and nine sacks during this first three seasons in the league. Despite missing five games due to a turf-toe injury in 2014, Wagner was selected to the Pro Bowl and made the All-Pro team after recording 104 tackles and two sacks.
After he returned from the injury, Wagner helped lead Seattle to the Super Bowl for the second consecutive season. Earlier this summer, the Seahawks rewarded the native of Ontario, Calif., with a four-year contract extension worth $43 million with nearly $22 million in guarantees. It made the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle-loving Wagner the highest-paid middle linebacker in the league.
However, Wagner, who earned first-team all-Western Athletic Conference honors three times as an Aggie, is still not satisfied. He continues to push himself every day to be the best. With the NFL season fast approaching, we recently caught up with Wagner and discussed a number of topics, including Utah State defensive coordinator Kevin Clune and what motivates him today.
How much fun are you having at this point in your career?
“I’m having a lot of fun. The game is definitely slowing down for me. I’m going into my fourth year and you kind of get a good feel for things after four years. I’m consistently trying to work and improve, but have fun at the same time. I think you can do both.”
Has it sunk in what you’ve already been able to accomplish in the NFL or is it like a dream?
“I don’t know if it has sunk in. I was talking to an older guy who has been in the league for 10 years and has never been to the playoffs. For my class, it’s kind of good and bad, because we feel like this is the norm, like we’re supposed to get to the playoffs, we’re supposed to go to Super Bowls. It’s a surreal feeling, but we’re just having fun and trying to enjoy the moment.”
Reaching the Super Bowl is never an easy task, yet you have accomplished that feat twice already in your career. How do you explain that?
“It’s a product of hard work. From us being a very young group and just being able to stick together, learn together and grow together, and not letting the success we get change our mindset or change how we approach the game, is why we’re having that success. A lot of teams do have that fall out to where guys maybe don’t work as hard or something like that, but after we won the Super Bowl we came back even hungrier. When we lost the Super Bowl last year, we came back even hungrier. The hunger is there, we’ve just got to show it on the field.”
How agonizing was the loss to the New England Patriots in last year’s Super Bowl?
“It was tough, but we moved on. We can’t dwell on it; it’s the past. The only thing we can control is our future and the present, so that’s what we’re focused on.”
Compared to every other team in the NFL, it seems like the Seahawks are having the most fun out there. Do you see it that way?
“I definitely feel like we’re having fun. We’re a young group, we’re a very close group, it’s like a brotherhood. The coaches are super positive and chill, we’re super positive and chill, so we have a good combination of having fun and getting the work done. The environment here is really fun and good to be around, so I’d think anybody would want to come and play for the Seahawks.”
What did it mean to you to sign that four-year contract extension in the summer, making you the highest paid middle linebacker in the league?
“It feels so good knowing I’m going to be a part of this organization for another four years. They’ve been extremely good to me and it’s a really fun work environment. I look forward to coming to work every day because you never know what’s going to happen, because it’s always something different. To be a part of this organization for another four years is a blessing and I’m just looking forward to making the most of these next four years.”
Like you said, you never know what’s going to happen. So, when you missed five games last season due to the turf-toe injury, how frustrating was that?
“It was extremely frustrating, but it gave me a chance to take a step back. I could’ve got down and got really sad, but I tried to use it as a positive, so I worked on whatever I could work on while my body was healing. It was frustrating watching, but I just got into the zone that I was going to do my work in the training room and on the field to get back, and I wanted to make some noise when I came back.”
You certainly did make some noise when you came back. As a result of your play you became All-Pro for the first time in your career. What did that mean to you?
“It was definitely a blessing. That season last year definitely had its ups and downs, but it was a blessing.”
What’s the best thing about playing in Seattle?
“The fans. They’re the best fans in the NFL.”
What motivates you today?
“The same thing. The doubters, my family and wanting to be the best, making sure I’m not just playing the game for no reason, that whenever I’m done, they’re going to know I came through in the league.”
When I say Kevin Clune’s name, what is the first thing that pops into your mind?
“He’s one of my favorite coaches that I’ve played for. We had a bond like no other and he was right there with me along the way, with my daughter and my mother, and all that stuff. We have an unshakable bond.”
I know Coach Clune feels the same way about you. When you heard he was named the defensive coordinator at Utah State, how did that make you feel?
“I felt like he deserved the job a long time ago, so to see him finally get his opportunity to showcase what he can do is definitely a blessing. I definitely feel like he’s going to be a head coach one day because of the type of person that he is and how hard he works.”
To see all the Aggie alumni currently on NFL rosters must be a pretty special feeling for you.
“I’m definitely proud. You see how far we’ve come just as a school as far as football-wise and I think it’s just the beginning. We’ll continue to put guys out there and it’s going to be great.”
How closely do you follow the Aggies these days?
“I’ve got them on my Bleacher Report, so any time something Utah State happens, I get a notification.”