At the end of practice Tuesday, during the opening drive of the Seahawks’ modified scrimmage, Russell Wilson spotted Jermaine Kearse streaking in the end zone.
The Seahawks quarterback threw a dart in the middle of the coverage – something linebacker Bobby Wagner saw right away.
If this was real football, the two-time All-Pro knows what would have happened next - a collision.
Except at this time of year, that is not allowed to happen.
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“I couldn’t even touch Kearse,” Wagner said. “I wanted to hit him, but I can’t.”
Kearse caught the pass, but was sent to the ground anyway.
“I did kind of hit him,” said Wagner with a chuckle.
It’s not difficult to see, whether it’s June or December, the Seahawks’ defensive leader is ready for real action.
And Wagner, who will turn 27 later this month, is coming off his best season yet – a team-record 167 tackles, which also led the NFL in 2016. He went to his third consecutive Pro Bowl. And he was a first-team, All-Pro selection for a second time.
And he wants more.
“My goal is to be a dominant player in this league, and have nobody question it,” Wagner said. “That is what I strive for – being great. I watched the guys before me – like Ray Lewis, Derrick Brooks, Brian Urlacher and all of those guys – and when all is said and done, I want to be in that area (of all-time great recognition).”
On NFL.com’s recent rankings of the top 100 players for the upcoming season, Wagner came in ranked 39th.
“A lot of special players get left off that list,” said Wagner, who mentioned teammate K.J. Wright. “But it’s cool. I appreciate all my peers and whoever voted for it.”
So what does a guy who is arguably the top inside linebacker in the NFL – who is seemingly on top of the world in the middle of his four-year, $43 million extension – do when the season is over?
He returned to his hometown of Ontario, California – located near Los Angeles – and relaxed before turning his attention to becoming even better.
“The first couple of weeks, you’ve got to get away, chill with your family and ... not even think about (football) for a second,” Wagner said. “But it is tough. If the season doesn’t end the way you want it to end, it’s hard not to think about it.”
He said he played a lot of basketball. He hung out with Anthony Tiffith, the CEO of Top Dawg Entertainment. He event met up with Guns N’ Roses guitarist Duff McKagan.
After these Seahawks’ mini-camps, Wagner said he will take a couple of vacations, going to the Dominican Republic, and also taking his daughter, Quinncey, to Disneyworld in Orlando, Florida.
When it came to analyzing last season’s tape, Wagner said he trained to improve in two areas – recognizing and defending man-to-man pass routes, and turning quarterback pressure into more sacks.
“I feel like I had a lot of good plays last year, but there were a lot left out there, too,” Wagner said. “I feel like I am still getting better, and I feel there is still room to grow.”