Ten years into his NFL career, Bobby Wagner showed during the 2021 season that he is still one of the best linebackers in the NFL, and after yet another impressive season, the Seahawks defensive captain was named second-team All-Pro by the Associated Press.
While this does end a streak of five straight first-team All-Pro selections for Wagner, it is his eighth consecutive season earning first or second-team honors, having been first team in 2014 and 2016-2020, and second team in 2015 and 2021.
Wagner's six first-team selections and eight total All-Pro nods are both team records, and as Seahawks coach Pete Carroll has noted on several occasions, Wagner, a member of the 2010s All-Decade team, has already built a Hall of Fame resume for himself. And in fact, every other linebacker with at least six first-team All-Pro selections has been enshrined in the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
"I would love Bobby to play here forever," Carroll said when asked about Wagner's future in Seattle. "He's been as solid as you could ever want a player to be."
Wagner's 10th season saw him record a career-high 170 tackles, his 10th time in as many seasons recording at least 100 tackles. That total eclipsed his own franchise single-season record set in 2016, though with Wagner missing almost all of the final two games of the season due to a knee injury, teammate Jordyn Brooks was able to top that mark and set a new team record with 183. Wagner's tackle total was still third best in the NFL this season, and he led the league in tackles through 15 games prior to his injury.
After surpassing his own record, Wagner called the accomplishment, "Something that I am grateful for. Obviously, my teammates play a huge role in that. To me, it just confirms the consistency that if you just keep doing things the right way and keep taking care of your body, keep taking care of your mind and try to execute and play the game at a high level, there's still room to get better. The biggest person that I watch and see that impacts me a lot is just LeBron (James). I watch him play every game and it just seems like he's getting better and better. He's not slowing down. He's still the best in the league to a lot of people. That's because of his preparation, because of how he takes care of his body. He's somebody that I look up to and admire, so I try to do that same thing."
Consistency has been a defining trait of Wagner's career, with him not just recording 100-tackle seasons every year, but also being incredibly durable while playing one of the game's most physical positions. Before a knee sprain caused him to miss last weekend's season finale, Wagner had only missed two games dating back to the 2015 season, and has missed only nine over the course of 10 seasons. It's all pretty impressive stuff for the former second-round pick out of Utah State, who came into the league first and foremost just hoping to outlast the average NFL career.
"When I first got into the league, I was just trying to figure out what goals I could set for myself," Wagner said when asked about reflecting on all he has accomplished in his career. "The first goal was—when I got here everyone was saying that players only last three years—I was trying to get to at least five. And once I got to five, I wanted to see if I could get to 10. This would be that year 10, so I'll probably think about just how the 10 years have gone."
While no other Seahawks players earned All-Pro honors this season, four others did receive votes: safety Quandre Diggs, who led the team with five interceptions, and who was named a starter on the NFC Pro-Bowl team; punter Michael Dickson, who led the NFL in punts downed inside the 20-yard line with 40, a number that is also a franchise record; special teamer Nick Bellore, who was third in the league with 15 special teams tackles; and linebacker Jordyn Brooks, whose 183 tackles established a new single-season franchise record.