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Bobby Wagner: Seahawks' head coaching change doesn't 'affect' whether he'll re-sign or move on

ORLANDO, Fla. -- Pete Carroll's out as Seattle Seahawks head coach, and Mike Macdonald is in.

To say there's been a sizable shift in Seattle would be a Space Needle-sized understatement.

Another Seahawks standard-bearer, linebacker Bobby Wagner, admits he was shocked by Carroll's departure. Likewise, he's cognizant that Macdonald might well offer up a defense he would flourish in.

Nonetheless, Macdonald nor Carroll's coming and going will impact Wagner's 2024 plans, as the nine-time Pro Bowler is poised to find the best landing spot possible.

"No, it doesn't affect anything," Wagner told Friday at Pro Bowl Games practice when asked if Carroll's leaving would alter him wanting to return to Seattle. "I wanna keep playing ball, I wanna keep showing I can play at a high level. I'm fortunate enough to be around a lot of these guys, but also guys like Ray Lewis and Peyton Manning and those guys, stealing knowledge from them, talking about how they were able to last as long as they did, so I'm excited about that, just figuring out what that looks that."

A dozen years of spectacular football are on Wagner's resume and he's ready for lucky No. 13 and, by the sounds of it, even more. The 33-year-old, who signed a one-year deal to return to the Seahawks last year, led the NFL in tackles during the 2023 season, his third such season doing so. He's posted more than 100 tackles in all 12 of his years, but his career high was had this past season with an eye-popping 183. That statistical splendor helped the six-time All-Pro earn his ninth Pro Bowl selection.

Each of those Pro Bowl nods and 11 of his 12 seasons were played for Carroll and the 'Hawks.

Seeing the 72-year-old Carroll's exit took Wagner aback, but after a dozen years in the NFL, Wagner knows the business and the inevitability of it all.

"Of course, obviously, because when you think of Seahawks, you think of Pete Carroll," Wagner said when asked if he was shocked. "It's natural, because he's been there for I believe 14 years. And so, not seeing that face connected to the Seahawks is always gonna be surprising. It was the same thing with Bill Belichick; when you think of Patriots, you think of Bill Belichick. But you know the time was coming at some point."

Macdonald, just three years Wagner's senior, will bring a fresh face to the Seattle sideline, but he's a defensive-minded coach. He produced sensational results with the Ravens, who advanced to the AFC Championship Game thanks in large part to a No. 1 scoring defense. Among Baltimore's defensive heavyweights is Roquan Smith, an off-ball linebacker like Wagner who also earned Pro Bowl recognition.

Hence, Macdonald and Wagner would seem to be a great match. Much like Carroll's parting, Macdonald's addition offers little in terms of being a determining factor as it relates to Wagner's 2024 destination plans.

"Obviously you look at it and when you see them make that hire -- I'm fortunate enough to be around Roquan and those guys and they say all great things about him and so you think about it -- but at the same time you also understand that you're a free agent and you're not necessarily married to that idea," Wagner said. "Obviously, I want to be in Seattle, but I also know the business; I've been around a long time."

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