Those who know Seahawks linebacker Bobby Wagner best insist he’d just as soon nobody know about his philanthropic efforts.

But do enough good deeds and word gets around.

Thursday, Wagner got one of the ultimate recognitions for an NFL player, named as the Seahawks nominee for the 2019 Walter Payton Man of the Year Award, which, according to the Seahawks’ website, “recognizes the NFL players who have not only exhibited excellence on the field, but whose passion to impact lives extends beyond the game and has led them to leave a positive legacy in their communities.’’

Among Wagner’s charitable acts is his recent spur-of-the-moment decision to pay the tabs at Safeway for dozens of customers who were in the store while Wagner was helping package supplies for Thanksgiving dinners for homeless encampments around the city of Seattle. He’s been involved with that cause since last summer.

Wagner was honored by the NFL Players Association as its Week 13 “Community MVP’’ for paying the tabs at Safeway.

Other acts mentioned by the team include his “Walk with Wagner” for stroke awareness in the Seattle community, hosting “numerous holiday shopping events around Thanksgiving and Christmas to support those in need with groceries or Christmas presents’’ and hosting a bowling event for 54 youth from the Orlando community while he was in town for the Pro Bowl.

Wagner said the nomination would have been especially meaningful to his mother, Phenia, who died of a heart attack while Wagner was a freshman at Utah State.


“I think I would say this would be something that kind of means something to me because I feel like if my mom was here that’s what she would be most proud of,” Wagner said. “She would be proud of the on-field stuff too, but the lives you are affecting off the field would be something I feel like she would appreciate a lot more.”

Wagner said one of the aspects of off-field work he likes the most is that he feels it shows young boys and girls that athletes are the same as they are.

“I think that’s the thing,’’ Wagner said. “It’s being able to interact with people, being able to kind of show young kids or show anybody that we are reachable, you now what I mean? When you are growing up, when we was growing up, it was how do you get in contact with (Michael) Jordan or Kobe (Bryant) or all them dudes. It just seemed like they were kind of faraway. So I just think it’s cool to be able to inspire people to give back not only with your money but with your time and seeing the smiles on their faces when we do certain things has been amazing.’’

Last year’s nominee was fellow linebacker K.J. Wright, whose off-field efforts included helping build two water wells for a village in Kenya.

Steve Largent is the only Seahawk to win the award, doing so in 1988.

All 32 nominees will receive a donation of up to $50,000 in their name to their charity of choice. The winner of the Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year award will receive a $250,000 donation to the charity of their choice. All donations are courtesy of the NFL Foundation and Nationwide.


Wagner said has selected the HBCU Foundation, which provides scholarship aid to deserving students attending Historically Black Colleges and Universities (Wagner has been wearing sweatshirts representing noted Historically Black Colleges at postgame news conferences all season). The winner of the Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year award will receive a $250,000 donation to the charity of their choice. All donations are courtesy of the NFL Foundation and Nationwide.

“I feel like they don’t always get the support that they deserve,” Wagner said. “The support that they need.”


The Seahawks’ injury picture grew a little more ominous Thursday as defensive end Jadeveon Clowney missed a second straight practice with an illness and his core injury listed as reasons.

Three other key players were downgraded from limited on Wednesday to out on Thursday.

Those sitting out Thursday: tight end Luke Willson, linebacker Mychal Kendricks and cornerback Shaquill Griffin, all with hamstring injuries.

Willson has missed the last three games, and Kendricks sat out against the Rams. Griffin played against the Rams and the injury crept up on the status report for the first time this week.


Carroll will speak to the media Friday to update their statuses.

If Kendricks can’t go, Seattle would start rookie Cody Barton again. Akeem King would likely start in place of Griffin, and the Seahawks added Ryan Neal off the practice squad this week to add depth at cornerback with Neiko Thorpe going on injured reserve.

Carroll said earlier in the week that Clowney would have to “work his way through to week to make it to game day” while still battling a core muscle injury that he suffered in the win vs. the 49ers on Nov. 11. The flu bug is a further complication that could make it more unlikely he will be able to play.

The Seahawks listed four players as limited — defensive end Ziggy Ansah (neck), offensive tackles Duane Brown (knee/biceps) and George Fant (knee) and defensive tackle Al Woods (ankle).

The most critical of those to watch is Ansah, who was also limited in practice last week and after Carroll indicated he could play against the Rams did not suit up.

Carroll said Wednesday Ansah has to continue to show he has the necessary strength in his shoulder area (he also suffered a stringer late in the win over the Vikings).