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Rams LB Bobby Wagner 'didn't want to leave Seattle,' but excited for chance to go home

As Bobby Wagner has adjusted to his new life and new team in Los Angeles the last few months, the linebacker said he's still feeling bittersweet about the end of his time in Seattle, but excited for what comes next.

Wagner spent the first 10 years of his career with the Seahawks before being released by the team earlier this offseason. While he told the Seattle Times he is grateful for the opportunity to play in his hometown by signing with the Rams, he still has some unresolved feelings about how he left Seattle.

"Obviously there are still feelings there [about being released]," Wagner said. "But at the end of the day I have a different perspective. I think my opinion on it would have been different if I ended up somewhere else. But to have the opportunity to go home and play not far from my family. Like I haven't played this close to my family since high school.

"I didn't want to leave Seattle. But if I was going to leave Seattle, home was the next-best thing for me and so being able to be home, like I'm at peace with the situation. But still any competitor is looking forward to going back to the place that you played that they felt like you didn't have nothing left and proving them wrong."

Wagner was released by the Seahawks on March 8, just hours after it was reported that the Hawks had agreed to trade long-time quarterback Russell Wilson to the Denver Broncos. On that day, Seattle parted ways with two of its longest-tenured players, the last two members of the Super Bowl XLVIII-winning squad. Wagner's release saved the Seahawks some salary space, and the Rams took advantage of Wagner's availability, signing the 32-year-old to a five-year, $50 million deal.

Wagner said that making the move to Los Angeles is a great opportunity for him to consistently play close by his family for the first time since he was a teenager, and he's also excited to show that he still can play in his prime with a team that has a chance to contend for a championship for the second year in a row.

"I think that I'm in a better position to make plays and I think I'm going to have more opportunities to do some of the things that I was doing early on in my career," Wagner said. "So I think I'm going to surprise everybody but myself."

But while Wagner is excited to prove to critics and his former team that he's still got it, he said he holds no animosity for the community he was a part of for the last decade. Wagner has no plans to change his official residence, and just this week Wagner hosted the King County Boys and Girls Club's 2022 field day, the first time the event had been put on since before the COVID-19 pandemic. Wagner regularly worked with the Boys and Girls Club throughout his time with the Seahawks, and said that continuing to engage with the Seattle community even after he left the team was something he felt very strongly about.

"I just kind of wanted to show the city that had loved me for 10 years some love before I left and kind of let them know that although I'm not playing for the Seahawks that I am not removing myself from this community," Wagner said. "I'm always going to be a part of this community."

While the start of his time with the Rams indicates the end of one chapter and bittersweet beginning of another, Wagner said he'll forever be grateful for the good years he spent with the Seahawks.

"When I played in Seattle, the whole goal was like to leave your mark," Wagner said. "I didn't want to just be there and as soon as I retired everybody forget that I played there. I think I'm always grateful for my time and my energy that I gave to the city. I feel like I gave them everything that I have. I felt like we had a lot of good years. I was committed to not only the organization but to the city. So it's unfortunate that I won't be one of those guys who said they played their whole career with one team. But I'm excited to be able to go home and play in front of my family."

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