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Friday Round-Up: Bobby Wagner Builds Stronger Bond With Seattle Community: 'It's Like He Never Left'

Michael-Shawn Dugar of The Athletic highlights the philanthropic efforts of Bobby Wagner following his return to the Seahawks.


Good morning, 12s. Here's a look at what's out there today — Friday, December 22 — about your Seattle Seahawks.

Since returning to the Seahawks via free agency this spring, linebacker Bobby Wagner has taken his community efforts in the Seattle area to new heights.

The Utah State alum will go down as one of the Seahawks greats, as the 33-year-old continues another historic season on the field. In November, Wagner joined London Fletcher (14) and Derrick Brooks (12) as the only linebackers in league history to record 100-plus tackles in 12-consecutive seasons. In his second season, Wagner helped Seattle secure its first championship in franchise history, winning 43-8 over the Denver Broncos in Super Bowl XLVIII. The six-time first-team All-Pro has eight Pro Bowl nominations in his career, along with being named to the NFL 2010s All-Decade team. But there's more to Wagner than his on-field play, and Micahel-Shawn Dugar takes a deeper look at the work Wagner is doing in the Seattle area, thanks to his desire to be on the frontline for change.

Dugar details Wagner's efforts to get back to community work in the area immediately after rejoining the franchise in free agency, like his April journey to Washington D.C. to join the Seahawks’ Historically Black College and University Tour (HBCU) stop at Howard University.

Seattle's partnership effort with Microsoft and the African American Male Achievement program (AAMA) of Seattle Public Schools afforded 16 young males from Seattle schools to take a visit to six black colleges on the east coast - Howard University, Hampton University, University of District of Columbia, Norfolk State University, Virginia Union University and Virginia State University. Wagner surprised the group, joining them on a campus tour before surprising the Howard Bison football team with some words of motivation.

In July, Wagner partnered with Virginia Mason Franciscan Health to honor his late mother by creating the Phenia Mae Fund, dedicated to educating and assisting stroke patients. In September, Wagner announced the release of his FAST54 multimedia comic book, providing stroke awareness to help kids know what to do and signs to look for. Earlier this month, Wagner was named Seattle’s Walter Payton Man of the Year Award nominee for the second time in his career. Wagner discussed the embrace he's felt from the Seattle community since being back.

"It's a community that I've always been a part of," Wagner told the Athletic. "It's a community that's embraced me from the moment I stepped foot in here. The way they embraced me when I came back and getting back into the flow of a lot of stuff that we were doing in the community, I think it was cool."

Dugar enlists the voices of the community to speak on Wagner's impact, like 16-year-old Cleveland Heights High junior and AAMA participant, Fosha. After meeting Wagner on the HBCU tour, Fosha discussed what it was like to be in the humble star's presence.

"It definitely means a lot," said Fosha. "Throughout elementary and part of middle school, there wasn't really that (many) Black teachers; there was only like one or two. To talk with Bobby and see what he's able to do as a Black man himself, it means a lot because it proves as a Black man, you can be successful. So, that boosts my confidence up like, 'OK, if I see all these other Black men being successful, that means I can do what I can do to be great also.'"

Wagner's efforts to be a positive factor in the boys' lives wasn't just a one-time thing, as he's provided the group with opportunities and resources through the year. In July, Wagner took the group on his Tackle Tech Tour, making stops at places like BOEING to expose the students to new avenues outside of sports. In September, the Seahawks hosted the group for a screening of a documentary chronicling the week-long tour. Sponsored by Jordan Brand, Wagner surprised the group with Jordan 1 sneakers to take home.

Dugar details Wagner's long list of accomplishments and side quests within the year, from being named an honorary Fire Marshall in Renton, to surprising 100 children with Target gift cards for the holidays.

The 7-7 Seahawks look to earn a playoff spot with three games remaining. It's too soon to know how the year will turn out on the field for Wagner in his reunion year, but his work off the field certainly deserves praise, as he continues to make a difference for the Seattle-area on-and-off the gridiron.

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