Bobby Wagner is back on top of the NFL, the most All-Pro of all its 2016 All-Pros.
The Seahawks’ record-setting middle linebacker was named All-Pro for the second time in his five-year career on Friday, as revealed by The Associated Press on the eve of Seattle hosting the Detroit Lions in the NFC wild-card playoffs at CenturyLink Field.
Wagner got 48 out of a possible 50 votes from a national panel. That was the most votes for one defensive or offensive player in the league.
“It still means a ton. Still means a ton,” Wagner told the AP’s Tim Booth. "Those things are hard to come by.”
He was also an All-Pro in Seattle’s Super Bowl season of 2014. Last year he took exception to those who felt his play fell off in 2015. He used it as a prime motivator all offseason -- then had his best season yet.
“I will always be appreciative of the Pro Bowls and All-Pros because you look at guys who have played a long period of time at a very high level and weren’t able to get them for whatever reason,” Wagner told the AP. “It definitely means a lot to me. It means the hard work in the offseason is recognized.”
Wagner had 167 tackles this regular season, most in the NFL and most in Seahawks history. He broke the previous team record of 153 set by Terry Beeson in 1978.
His goal before this season was 150.
“I’ve written it down several times, this is just the first time I’ve actually gotten it,” Wagner said this week . “You write down things in the offseason and you want to go and get them, but when you actually start getting them, you appreciate it. We’ve got one more game, so we’ll see what happens.”
He had 12 tackles and two sacks in last weekend’s regular-season finale at San Francisco.
Defensive coordinator Kris Richard blitzed Wagner more this season, and he was a consistent factor when he did rush in. Wagner’s 4 1/2 sacks were two more than he had in the previous two seasons combined, and is 18 quarterback hits only begin to describe how much he affecting opposing quarterbacks and disrupted offenses.
Wagner also made the Pro Bowl for the third consecutive season. He is the first Seahawk to lead the league in tackles in a season.
“He has had great games one after another after another after another all season long,” Seahawks coach Pete Carroll said after Sunday’s game. “Nobody has played better football anywhere that I have seen in this league. He has just been such a stellar part of what we’re doing, and he put the numbers up week in and week out, and he has been a great leader for us.”
Pro Bowl kickoff and punt returner Tyler Lockett was voted second-team All-Pro. Lockett broke his leg on Christmas Eve against Arizona and is out for the season.
Cornerback Richard Sherman, injured free safety Earl Thomas, strong safety Kam Chancellor and defensive ends Michael Bennett and Cliff Avril came within two votes of joining Lockett as a second-team All-Pro.