How Bobby Wagner Remains In Control Of His Stellar Career By Representing Himself

Bobby Wagner has five All-Pro selections and a legacy of immaculate service under his belt; and in March 2022 signed a five-year contract with the Los Angeles Rams, ready for the next chapter to commence.

His move to LA comes after a decade with the Seahawks in Seattle, with whom he signed six weeks before turning 22. It was during his tenure there that the Hawks won their first, and to date only, Super Bowl Championship, in 2014.

Now 32, Wagner finds himself settling back in his home city, after an uncertain final year in Seattle. He speaks with about the move, why he represents himself, and his gratitude to his mom for his start in the sport…

RSNG After a decade in Seattle, you’ve moved back to the city you were born in. How happy were you to finalize the move, after the uncertainty of the last year in Seattle?

BOBBY WAGNER, LOS ANGELES RAMS STAR “I’m happy to be here and it is nice to be in a place that I know. It was a little surprising the way it all happened, but now that I’m part of a new project, I am going to give my all. Everyone in life needs new challenges and this is mine.

“It always takes a little time to settle in, especially when you’ve been somewhere you felt at home for so long. Ten years being around Seahawks was almost like second nature.

“I was very close to the people there and I managed to get a Superbowl ring, and that was great. The whole experience is something I will never forget.”

RSNG Is it true that as soon as they knew you were being released from Seattle, Jalen Ramsey and Aaron Donald called you up to coax you into playing with them at the Rams?

BOBBY WAGNER “Yeah and that was really nice. To be wanted by players as good, as well-respected and as successful as they are, was a nice feeling… a nice thing to leave Seattle on.

“I think as a sportsman that’s all you want. People change and projects change, and that’s fine; but when you leave you just want to be respected and remembered… and when you go somewhere you want to know people truly want you.

“Of course, having family here was always another positive. I needed to be in a place where I felt at home – having had that feeling in Seattle, I had to have it wherever I was going next.”

My mind wasn’t set on going anywhere – regardless of what the franchise destination was or what the numbers were in terms of years or money

RSNG Did you think that after playing in Seattle for 10 years, you were following Ray Rice, Dan Marino and many others in being a one-franchise player?

BOBBY WAGNER “I actually did get to that point, yes. You start looking at other players who had been at one place for their entire careers and think you are going to join that exclusive club – I mean, I was certainly well on the way there. Ten years is a long time.

“I didn’t think it was going to end the way it did, and it did take me by surprise when it seemed they just let my contract run down. When there’s no conversation to extend it which takes place or is mentioned, you know what’s coming.

“But it was more when I saw Russell Wilson leave to go and sign a contract with the Denver Broncos that I knew something similar was going to happen with me. Russell and I had been in the Superbowl winning team, so it was a sign.”

RSNG Wilson actually called you to ask your thoughts on him possibly taking up the offer from Denver, didn’t he?

BOBBY WAGNER “Yeah, he did. So, his move from Seattle was not a complete surprise to me. We will always be close friends.”

RSNG How do you define your friendships in the sport? Like most players I guess you end a career with a wealth of friends from different levels?

BOBBY WAGNER “That’s very true. The friends you make from the sport are not necessarily the players who have been at the top with you. They are players from the whole spectrum – they are coaches, physios, even those from your childhood who never played the game professionally but have stayed involved in some way.

“It’s an interesting dynamic, but it’s true to say you don’t choose your friends based on status. Your friends are your friends, in any walk of life.”

I feel much more in control by representing myself – I am intelligent and I have a steer on what I want and what I am worth

RSNG You take pride in representing yourself and not having a traditional agent. How is that?

BOBBY WAGNER “I feel much more in control by representing myself – I am intelligent and I have a steer on what I want and what I am worth.

“Sometimes it means you are going to greater lengths to get the things done behind the scenes, because you don’t have someone doing that job for you; but mostly I like the feeling of being in control of my own destiny… if such a thing is possible in sport!”

RSNG Was it a dream when you were a kid, to be a star in this field?

BOBBY WAGNER The thing is I loved basketball as a kid, but my mom was the one who directed my attention to football instead.

“I was never going to be a fairly tall individual – I was never going to be the height required to catch the eye of the basketball scouts. So, I started to put body mass on and bulk up more.”

RSNG Did the cold weather in Utah State, where you played college football, prepare you for the NFL?

BOBBY WAGNER “[Laughs]. I suppose you could say that. I mean, Salt Lake City has hosted a Winter Olympics. So, if that’s the case, you know it’s gonna be real cold at times. When I first visited there to see the college, it was snowing.

“I liked the place, I liked the people, but it was so cold and wet and I was almost begging my mom not to make me go there. I wanted to go to a college where it’s warm – that’s how I grew up.

“It wasn’t so much anything else – even the 600 miles from the West Coast to Utah – it was just the weather was horrendous. But, as you say, because of the cold conditions in a few NFL franchise homes, it gave me good grounding!

‘Maybe my mom knew all about that and she was steadfastly refusing to listen to any negativities. But it turns out she was right, and I thank her forever for giving me that.”

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Photos: REX