One of the age-old questions regarding leadership is whether leaders are born or made? While there is much disagreement about the answer, even what is leadership and which is the best type of leadership one thing everyone can agree on is that when leadership is present it is unmistakable and distinct.
The Seattle Seahawks franchise has had many types and styles of leaders in its history. Steve Largent, Ken Easly, Steve Hutchinson, Kam Chancellor and Russell Wilson to name a few. No doubt Four-time linebacker Bobby Wagner is part of that list. There is no doubt the former 2nd round (47th overall) 2012 draft pick is one of the bonafide leaders on the Seahawks. Wagner is a well rounded deep thinker who happens to be one of the greatest players to play Linebacker for the Seahawks and some are arguing and building the Bobby Wagner Hall of Fame Linebacker campaign.
The numbers for said campaign certainly speak for themselves. Wagner has played 88 games for the Seahawks and the team has allowed just 16.7 points per game (1,467) since 2012, which ranks second in Hall of Fame. Former Pittsburg linebacker Jack Lambert is number one with a 15.4 average. Third on the list is former Green Bay Packer Ray Nitschke also a linebacker at 17.3. Wagner has earned three First-team All-Pro honors (2014,2016,2017, and second team honor (2015). Wagner was voted the 2018 Steve Largent winner by his teammates. The ward is given to the player that best exemplifies the spirit, dedication, and integrity of the Seahawks
The numbers show a great leader on the field and respect of teammates off the field. The question has Wagner been the Seahawks silent leader all along and was just waiting for the right moment to exert his leadership? Did the absence of Richard Sherman, Earl Thomas, Michael Bennett and Earl Thomas cause the emergence of the vocal Wagner or was it there all along and it was just not heard outside of the lockerroom?
After a back-breaking 42-7 home loss to the Los Angeles Rams Wagner and Earl Thomas were involved in a less that professional exchange after the game in which Thomas seemd to imply that Wagner should not have played and Wagner looked to have told Thomas to mind his own business and quit hating. Cooler heads prevailed and Wagner owned up to his part of the exchance when he faced the media during week.
“Fellas, ladies. Ladies, fellas. I’m doing well. Can’t complain. I’ll just start it off today. It was funny I was listening to a Kevin Hart interview last week and in the interview he was kind of talking about the way he kind of handles issues and handles things. He likes to face them head on, don’t want to run from them. I’m pretty sure y’all are going to ask, so in regards to everything that happened. Do I feel like I mishandled the situation? Yeah there was a better way of going about the situation, said Wagner”
“I could’ve did better. It’s one of those things where you live and you learn. That is kind of what it is. I think it is just one of those things, it was a frustrating game, frustrating situation. The game didn’t go as well as we planned and emotions get high and things of that nature. Everybody has emotions and you can’t always act on them, so I am man enough to admit that I handled the situation wrong and I will do better moving forward. But like I said, we live and we learn and I’m happy to move forward. So questions?”
Fast forward to Wednesday, August 23rd when Wagner was asked about Earl Thomas current hold. Thomas is in the last year of his contract and is seeking an extension. Thomas so far missed all off season practices and two exhibition games.
“It’s an interesting thing. You want him to be here, I want him to be here, but at the same time too, there’s a business side of this thing. Sometimes that takes over what you should be doing. I think you see it a lot right now from the defensive side. You have amazing players that are not getting paid or not getting their money. I think at some point you have to make a stand, said Wagner.”
“Every year they’re making the game harder and harder for a defensive player to play. We got this new helmet rule that they don’t even know how to officiate right now. We’re doing our best to adjust. I just think that defensive players are just as important as offensive players, if you don’t have the defense, this league doesn’t exist. I feel like defensive players do need to stand their ground just to show that we’re just as important. You see all the offensive guys getting paid and we’re just as important.
For me, from that standpoint, it’s hard to really tell someone like that what to do because does he deserve to get paid? I mean, look at him; All-Pro, Pro Bowls, best safety in the league, not many safeties like him. So, at some point, you got to do what you got to do business-wise because our years are numbered. I think he’s been in the league eight or nine years, you don’t know how many more years you got. You got to make sure you take care of the business side and unfortunately that sometimes comes in the way of playing on the field.”
There is no doubt Wagner has grown and understands how much impact his actions have on and off the field.