Over the past couple of years, Seahawks coach Pete Carroll has taken to referring to middle linebacker Bobby Wagner as a Hall of Fame player, and on Friday Wagner's already impressive resume got even better.
For the fifth year in a row and the sixth time in his career, Wagner was named Associated Press first-team All-Pro, adding to a total that was already the most in franchise history. Safety Jamal Adams, meanwhile, was named second-team All-Pro in his first year with the Seahawks, his third straight year earning All-Pro honors, and second-year receiver DK Metcalf also earned second-team honors.
With this year's first-team selection, Wagner becomes the 11th linebacker to earn first-team All-Pro honors six times. The other ten are all in the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
"We're looking at a Hall-of-Fame football player," Carroll said earlier this season after Wagner eclipsed 100 tackles for the ninth time in as many seasons. "We maybe don't realize how great a player he is and how hard it is to do what he's doing. He's an all-timer."
Wagner led the Seahawks in tackles with 138, had 3.0 sacks, eight passes defensed, seven tackles for loss and 11 quarterback hits. And perhaps most importantly, along with fellow linebacker K.J. Wright, provided leadership on a defense with a lot of new part, helping lead a midseason turnaround that saw the Seahawks lead the league in scoring defense over the final eight weeks of the season, a defensive turnaround that was a key factor in the Seahawks finishing 12-4, winning six of their last seven games to earn their first NFC West title since 2016.
"I think (this year) has been different on so many levels, obviously," Wagner told the Associated Press. "What you have to deal with on a day-to-day basis when you're in the building, on the field, things of that nature, but all the stuff that you have to deal with outside with family and the virus and things of that nature it's been a crazy season for sure. One of the most challenging seasons. And to kind of be recognized for this during a really challenging year is definitely a blessing."
Wagner has long prided himself on the type of consistency that has allowed him to earn All-Pro and Pro-Bowl honors year after year, and record 100-plus tackles in every season of his career, and this year was just another example of that, albeit with the team facing a new set of challenges due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
"I think it just shows the discipline that you have to have, the consistency that you have to have, because you have to be able to withstand challenges like this," he said. "What we're going through is nothing compared to what the world has gone through, you can't even compare to that. But to know that when you lock in and focus, you can still play at a high level is something that you hang your hat on."
Adams, who was acquired in a trade with the Jets just before the start of training camp, led the Seahawks with 9.5 sacks in only 12 games, the most ever by a defensive back since sacks became an official stat in 1982. Metcalf, a second-round pick in 2019, built on a promising rookie campaign to become one of the league's top receivers in 2020, finishing the year with 83 catches for 1,303 yards and 10 touchdowns. Metcalf's yardage total broke a 35-year old franchise record set by Hall of Famer Steve Largent.
In a year where special teams has been an area of strength for the Seahawks, four special teamers also received votes but fell short of first- or second-team honors: kicker Jason Myers, punter Michael Dickson, long snapper Tyler Ott and fullback Nick Bellore, who received votes in the special teams category.