As his foot slipped on the Lumen Field turf and Wagner fell to the ground awkwardly, he not only thought about the injury he had just sustained, but also the realization that the decision to add yoga to his training regimen earlier in his career might have saved him from more serious injury.
"I'm grateful that I do yoga," Wagner quipped. "I just learned that I can do the splits if I want to."
Wagner is also grateful for the outpouring of support he received following the injury, which caused him to miss playing time for the first time this season, and depending on how things go this week, could cause him to miss a game for the first time since 2018.
"I'm going to start off by just expressing my gratitude and being thankful for the position I'm in," Wagner said to open his weekly press conference. "I just want to thank everybody that reached out. I'm good. You don't have to worry about anything, it's not serious."
While Wagner reiterated what Seahawks coach Pete Carroll said Monday—that the knee sprain he suffered on Sunday isn't a serious one—there is still the question of whether or not Wagner can make it back for Seattle's Week 18 game at Arizona.
Since missing five games with a foot injury in 2014, Wagner has proven to be remarkably durable despite playing one of the most physically demanding positions in his sport, missing just two games over the past seven seasons, and none since 2018. While coming back in a week from a sprained knee, serious or not, might be challenging, Wagner isn't willing to rule himself out at this point in the week.
"I'm just going to do what I can do," Wagner said. "I'm going to get as much treatment as I possibly can. I'm going to take it one day at a time. I have a lot of days before Sunday. We're going to see what happens."
While the Seahawks are eliminated from postseason contention with a 6-10 record, Wagner doesn't subscribe to the mindset that he should just shut it down and focus on his offseason. That doesn't guarantee Wagner can make it back, but if there's a chance to play, he's going to go for it.
"It's always important to try your best to finish what you start," said Wagner. "Regardless of how the things play out, you never want your circumstances or what's going on around you to dictate whether or not you're going to play or how hard you're going to play because then I feel like you'll never be good at anything if the circumstance is you only gave it your best when everything was good, then you know the moment something didn't work out your way, you would probably fold. That's kind of my mentality is you just do everything you can to play and give it your best and not let the circumstances or things around you dictate your mindset. I never let anything around me that's going on dictate how I approach the game. I try to approach the game in the same way. I think that's part of being a leader and that's part of instilling the young guys what it looks like to be a true professional."
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What Wagner isn't focusing on right now, however, is whether Sunday's game could potentially be his last with the Seahawks. Wagner is under contract beyond this year, but as he himself noted last week, few things are guaranteed in the NFL so he's at least considered the possibility that he wouldn't be back depending on what happens in the offseason, though his desire is to stay in Seattle.
"In my mind I don't feel like this is my last time," he said. "I don't feel like this is my last time putting on a Seahawks uniform. I don't feel like this is my last time doing that. I understand there is a business side to this, but there's a lot of optimism on my end that I'll be back. I'm not worried about it. Obviously, I can't control everything. I can only control my part, and my part on this is I feel like I love this city, I love this team, I love the Seahawks. I always wanted to be a part of a franchise in the good times and bad times and every time. This is a team that I would love to be able to be a part of for a very, very long time. On my end, that's where I'm at, that I'm a Seahawk until they tell me I'm not. That's my mindset. To me, I don't see it as that was my last game or this next game could be my last game."
If Wagner isn't able to get back this week, that would likely mean a start at middle linebacker for Cody Barton, who had seven tackles and a pass defensed after taking over for Wagner on Sunday. While Wagner would prefer to be on the field, he did like what he saw from Barton in the third-year linebacker's first extensive playing time at middle linebacker in a regular season game.
"I thought he did a good job," Wagner said. "If you watch Cody, he prepares every week like he's going to play. He's a guy that, when he got here, picked up the playbook really, really fast. He's constantly making plays at practice. Unfortunately, I got hurt, but it was really cool to see him get the opportunity to go out there and show the world how he's capable of playing. I look forward to seeing what his future looks like."
The 12s packed a chilly Lumen Field to cheer on the Seattle Seahawks as they took on the Detroit Lions on January 2, 2022.