After he was forced to watch the Seahawks' Monday Night Football loss to the Bears on television because of a groin injury, Bobby Wagner will be back for the home opener against Dallas.
Bobby Wagner struggled to communicate with his teammates on Monday.
Mainly because Wagner was in Seattle, and the rest of the Seahawks were in Chicago.
The 6-foot, 245-pound linebacker — who had made 42 consecutive starts, dating back to 2015 — was forced to miss his team’s 24-17 Monday Night Football loss to the Bears because of a groin injury.
Instead, he watched the game on television (and struggled to keep his composure).
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“I’m definitely a guy that yells at the TV,” Wagner said on Thursday. “You call out plays and think they’re going to hear you say what you called out. So I was watching it with (former teammates) Cliff (Avril) and Kam (Chancellor) and those guys. We were all just yelling at the screen.”
All that yelling didn’t do a whole lot of good, as the Seahawks compiled just 276 total yards and fell to 0-2. His replacement, second-year-linebacker Austin Calitro, impressed with a team-high nine tackles in his first career start.
Had Wagner played, there’s always a possibility that the four-time Pro Bowler would have helped produce a different outcome.
Still, the seventh-year Seahawk is confident that he’s learned from past mistakes.
“I just had to trust the trainers,” said Wagner, who suffered the groin injury in the second quarter of the season opener at Denver but played every snap in the game. “Last year I was kind of in that same situation when it came to my hamstring (injury) and I can’t necessarily say that I trusted the trainers in that situation. It kind of lingered for the last eight games.
“It wasn’t something that I wanted to do again, so I made the grown-up decision and did the right thing this time.”
The right thing, apparently, was to rest the injury, yell at the television and — hopefully — preserve an otherwise productive season. Of course, that approach directly conflicts with Wagner’s competitive instincts.
A year ago, he played with the nagging hamstring, and it eventually affected his performance in back-to-back December losses to the Jaguars and Rams.
“I just don’t like missing games. I don’t like watching,” said Wagner, who finished with season-lows in solo tackles in those particular games. “I felt like (the hamstring injury) was something that I could manage and I could deal with, and I wanted to be out there for my teammates, and I felt like I could help.
“I felt like I fared pretty well up until the Jacksonville game. I think that’s when it really got worse and then it kind of lingered into the Rams game. If you watch the film, you’ll see that. Kind of dealing with that, I just didn’t want to do that again and was smarter this time. I feel great.”
He’ll have to play great to lift an inexperienced Seahawks defense that continues to miss injured weakside linebacker K.J. Wright (knee) and will start a converted safety at cornerback in rookie Tre Flowers.
That means chasing down Dallas running back Ezekiel Elliott and quarterback Dak Prescott along the way.
“He’s very difficult. He runs really hard,” Wagner said of Elliott, who has produced 147 rushing yards, 4.6 yards per carry and two touchdowns in his team’s first two games. “I think they have a great scheme and he’s able to read the alignment very, very well. He’s very physical. I don’t see him running out of bounds too often.
“So he’s a guy you have to put a body on, a guy you have to make sure you hit. I’m excited for the challenge. We’re coming back home. I think it’ll be a fun game.”
As for Prescott?
“He is part of the run game. He’s somebody that you have to have your eyes on,” Wagner added. “He’s going to run the ball, and we’ll catch him.”
If they don’t, the Seahawks’ playoff hopes will already start shrinking in September.
But anything is better than last week’s heated conversation between Wagner and his TV.
“It sucked, to sit there and watch your team play and not be able to do anything,” Wagner said. “But you just use the time wisely and try to get better. So I’ll be ready for this week.”