RENTON The kind of spatty sideshow that often happens on a team full of championship expectations that isn’t winning continues with these fading Seahawks.
Bobby Wagner began a press conference Wednesday saying he didn’t handle correctly reacting as he did on Twitter Sunday to teammate Earl Thomas saying the All-Pro linebacker should not have played last weekend’s season-altering, blowout loss to the Rams on a bad hamstring.
“Do I feel like I mishandled the situation? Yeah, there was a better way going about the situation,” Wagner said before practice for Sunday’s game of playoff desperation at Dallas. “I could have did better. It’s one of those things that you live and you learn.
“It was a frustrating game...a frustrating situation. Emotions get high, and things of that nature. ... I’m man enough to admit that I handled the situation wrong. And I will do better moving forward.”
Moments earlier Wagner said he and Thomas, the two Pro Bowl stars of Seattle’s battered defense, “spoke, and we ironed things out like we always do” at the start of this week.
“We are moving forward and making sure that we finish this season off right,” Wagner said. “We still have a lot out there left for us, and we decided it’s good to get back on the field.”
Coach Pete Carroll said Wednesday of Wagner and Thomas: “They took care of it...they’ve already dealt with it.”
So there’s no issue inside the locker room of a Seahawks team (8-6) that has lost two in a row and allowed 67 points in the five-plus quarters since Wagner left the Jacksonville game Dec. 10 with this intensified hamstring injury, right?
Inside that locker room Wednesday, Thomas didn’t make that sound so.
“There wasn’t no conversation. It is what it is. We move on,” Thomas said. “If that’s how you feel, that’s how you feel.’’
So he and Wagner didn’t talk about it?
“It’s cool,” Thomas said.
Do you feel a need to patch things up with Wagner?
“Ain't no patching if that's what's in your heart. Cool,” Thomas said.
“Let's finish strong.”
Thomas’ point following Sunday’s 42-7 loss to the Rams was that Wagner didn’t help the team by playing so obviously affected. Thomas also said it took too long for Wagner to decide to pull himself from the lost game in the third quarter.
“I think the backups would have done just as good,” Thomas said Sunday following the Seahawks’ biggest margin of defeat in coach Pete Carroll’s tenure that began in 2010.
Los Angeles running back Todd Gurley had been throttled by Seattle in four previous games when Wagner and fellow Pro Bowl linebacker K.J. Wright were healthy. With Wagner slowed and limited and Wright out with a concussion, Gurley rampaged for 144 yards and three touchdowns--in the first half--as the Rams annihilated Seattle 34-0 before halftime at CenturyLink Field.
Wagner on Wednesday admitted "I just didn't feel like I had that burst to make plays that I'm used to making" against the Rams and Gurley. Wagner said unlike the previous games he played on the hamstring that’s kept him from practicing for more than a month, the pain never went away during Los Angeles game.
“I’m feeling a lot better, a lot better than I felt last week,” Wagner said, adding to the presumption he and Wright (who practiced Wednesday) will play Sunday at Dallas.
Carroll said doctors have cleared Wright from the NFL’s concussion protocol, and that “it feels good” to have Wagner and Wright back to defend 2016 NFL rushing champion Ezekiel Elliott coming off suspension Sunday at Dallas.
For now, the Seahawks don’t know if Wagner will be any better equipped to slow down Elliott than he wasn’t to stop Gurley last weekend. Carroll has said Wagner didn’t come out of the Rams game any worse, that he was in the same situation he was this time last week. And we saw how that worked out for him and Seattle’s defense.
“I know there was a lot of, should I play/should I not play (last week against the Rams),” Wagner said. “I think hindsight is, you can always say you did something right or wrong after the fact. I think you are dealing with this injury for, I don’t know, six weeks or whatever it is, it felt (before the Rams game) like it did all the other weeks. Last week it didn’t work out the way it had in previous weeks.
“Again, you live and learn. I learned a lot about my body. I learned a lot about my mind. And would I do the same thing over? I would. Because I’m a fighter. I love this team and I love this game. And I want to be out there. I want to be out there to help. And I felt like I couldn’t. So it’s not something that I would do differently.
“I would just make sure I could adjust my alignments a little bit more so I could make some plays.”