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Seahawks’ Wagner says he’s learned from previous injuries

September 20, 2018

RENTON, Wash. (AP) — Stuck at home while out with a groin injury, Bobby Wagner met up with former Seattle teammates Kam Chancellor and Cliff Avril to watch the Seahawks’ game in Chicago.

Sitting there as his team lost wasn’t very enjoyable for Wagner.

“I’m definitely a guy who yells at the TV. I’m calling out plays and think they’re going to hear you,” Wagner said Thursday.

Seattle’s All-Pro middle linebacker is expected back in the lineup Sunday when the Seahawks host Dallas looking to avoid falling to 0-3 for the first time under Pete Carroll. For the most part, the defense wasn’t the problem on Monday night against the Bears. The Seahawks held them to 271 total yards and only 10 offensive points after Chicago scored on its opening drive.

But having Wagner back will certainly be a boost in what’s essentially become a must-win game just three weeks into the regular season.

Wagner said he was initially injured in the second quarter of the season-opening loss at Denver. He didn’t believe it was going to be an issue until after the game.

Sitting out Week 2 showed Wagner had gained a new perspective after the issues he had with a lingering hamstring injury last season.

Wagner wouldn’t sit a year ago to let his hamstring have at least a week off to get better. The result was a muscle injury that got worse until Wagner was on the field unsuccessfully trying to play on one leg.

“Last year I was kind of in the same situation with my hamstring and I can say I didn’t necessarily trust the trainers in that situation and it kind of lingered for the last eight games,” he said. “It wasn’t something I wanted to do again so I made the grown up decision and did the right thing this time.”

Asked why he was so stubborn a year ago, Wagner said he believed he could play through the injury and still contribute at a high level. It wasn’t until Seattle’s Week 14 loss at Jacksonville that it became a significant issue and it was completely evident a week later in a blowout loss to the Rams.

“I felt like I fared pretty well up until the Jacksonville game. I think that’s when it really got worse and it kind of lingered into the Rams game, which if you watch the film you see it,” Wagner said. “Kind of dealing with that I didn’t want to do that again and was smarter this time.”

An unintended benefit of Wagner’s injury this season was the opportunity for Austin Calitro to make his first start. Seattle has struggled to find a clear backup for Wagner since his rookie season, at times shifting K.J. Wright into the middle for games Wagner has missed. Calitro received positive reviews from his first start, and has now played significant snaps at two linebacker positions in the first two weeks.

“He played a really good football game and it’s more than just the plays and getting lined up and all,” coach Pete Carroll said. “It was making the calls, handling situations, handling the adjustments that we made during the game, communicating to guys around him. He played like a veteran player and I was really pleased with that.”

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