Rams LB Bobby Wagner ‘Master of Emotions’ Ahead of Seahawks Return

After a decade of All-Pro level play for the Seattle Seahawks, linebacker Bobby Wagner is ready to lead his Los Angeles Rams into battle Sunday against his former team, putting emotions aside … though acknowledging that he won’t be without some feelings.

Los Angeles Rams linebacker Bobby Wagner is many things.

He’s an eight-time Pro Bowler, six-time All-Pro, two-time league-leader in tackles, member of the 2010s Hall of Fame team, Super Bowl Champion … and Seattle Seahawks great.

Now in his first season with the Rams after 10 in Seattle, Wagner has seamlessly become a leader in the locker room, helping guide Los Angeles through the trials and tribulations of a disappointing 5-11 campaign.

There’s just one game left before Wagner and the Rams reach the offseason – a return to his old stamping grounds at Lumen Field for a matchup with the Seahawks.

It’s not Wagner’s first time playing against Seattle; that came in Week 13 at SoFi Stadium, when the Seahawks walked away with a 27-23 victory.

But this season-ending contest has a little bit more meaning to Wagner – at least on paper – considering his tenure in Seattle and the opportunity it presents to go back to the place where his professional career began.

So, what’s running through the 32-year-old’s mind? He explained … and seemed particularly keen on keeping his former team out of the postseason.

“It’s a lot of emotions, but like I said last time I played them, I’m a master of my emotions,” Wagner said. “But it’s going into a stadium I’ve been to thousands of times, played hundreds of times, and to be in a position to spoil their playoff hopes is always a good position, something worth playing for.

“It will be fun to go back there, be back in front of those fans that I spend so much time (around) and it should be a fun game.”

If the Seahawks win and the Detroit Lions beat the Green Bay Packers, Seattle will be in the playoffs – but anything other than a win almost surely ends its season.

There’s certainly added motivation for Wagner considering the chance to “spoil” a division rival’s season, and while he doesn’t intend on being overly emotional, he does think he’ll get hit with some feelings when walking out of the visitors’ tunnel.

“The energy, the crowd, the moments that I had there,” said Wagner, of what he’ll feel. “For me, my last time I played there wasn’t a great one, so I’m just blessed to be able to have an opportunity to not have that be my last play at that field.”

Apart from the on-field memories such as playing in two Super Bowl’s and competing in 16 total playoff games, Wagner truly valued his time in Seattle … thanks in part to how the fans treated him and helped him mature as an individual.

“I just think the love,” Wagner said on his biggest appreciation. “Because especially coming from Los Angeles, Ontario area to Utah to Seattle, that really became my second home and it’s a place where I grew up,” Wagner revealed. “I grew up in California, but really, 21, I was on my own, making my own decisions, doing my own thing. I didn’t have the parents controlling everything, that’s really where I grew up and they accepted me.

“They showed a lot of love and so I’m forever grateful.”

Those same fans who cheered for Wagner so many times will now be rooting against him – with plenty on the line for their team. But Wagner, an 11-year veteran, knows how to put emotions and situations aside, focusing solely on winning the next game … even if that means ending the season of some of his biggest supporters.

Wagner’s Rams are set to kick off against the Seahawks at 1:05 p.m. Pacific on Sunday.

You can follow Daniel Flick on Twitter @DFlickDraft

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