For all that Bobby Wagner has accomplished in his NFL career—Super Bowl victory, first-team All-Pro, multiple Pro Bowls, team captain in 2015—it's easy to forget that the Seattle Seahawks middle linebacker is still so young.
When Richard Sherman made the point after Seattle's playoff loss in Carolina that, "guys are just entering their prime, and we're going to be special for a long time," one of the first names the cornerback mentioned was Wagner's noting, "Bobby Wagner is 25. We've got a young core."
With Wagner turning 26 Monday, a key piece of Seattle's core is a year older, but still, as Sherman would note, he's just entering his prime.
During an interview on 710 ESPN Seattle last week, Wagner said of his status as a veteran team leader, "Being an older guy is kind of interesting, because I'm 25. I don't feel old."
Wagner isn't old, but he is undoubtedly a leader of one of the NFL's best defenses, a role that was cemented last year when teammates voted him the captain of the Seahawks defense. Not long ago, Wagner was a rookie starter leaning on veterans like Red Bryant and Brandon Mebane for advice, but now he and still-relatively-young teammates like Sherman, K.J. Wright, Earl Thomas and Kam Chancellor are the ones helping young players understand what is expected from members of a Seahawks defense.
"When I first got here, a lot of the team was super young and still trying to learn, but now you can see the growth in everybody," Wagner told 710 ESPN Seattle's John Clayton. "Everybody's been in the league a little bit longer, everybody is starting to mature and understand the defense. We're starting to talk more about things that we probably didn't even talk about when we first got here."
Since Wagner arrived in Seattle as a second-round pick in 2012, the Seahawks have allowed the fewest points in the NFL for four straight seasons, a feat never before accomplished in the Super Bowl era, been to the playoffs every year, won two NFC championships and one Super Bowl title. And with Wagner just now turning 26, and so many other key players still in their 20s, it's easy to understand why the Seahawks are so excited about the future of a defense that has already accomplished so much.
"It's an exciting feeling to be out there with a bunch of guys who have been here for a really, really long time," Wagner said. "We're fortunate to do that, not a lot of teams get to do that… It's really an exciting time for this defense."
Join us in wishing Seahawks linebacker Bobby Wagner a happy 26th birthday on June 27!