JOINT BASE LEWIS-MCCHORD, Wash. - Four-time Pro Bowler, and Super Bowl Champion, Bobby Wagner, All-Pro linebacker for the Seattle Seahawks, will report to Seahawks training camp this week; but before doing so, he took time last week to honor the servicemembers at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Washington, with an autograph session at the Lewis Main Exchange.
"It means a lot (to visit JBLM) because I know we have a lot of supporters here; a lot of people that support our team," said Wagner. "It also means a lot too because my dad told me he used be (stationed) up here."
Appreciative fans of the local team favorite lined up for a chance to get an autograph from Wagner, who did not disappoint, signing shirts, footballs and other items. The "Hawks" mascot, "Blitz," was also on-hand, encouraging fans to see how many pull-ups they could knock out, with the winner scoring some swag and a personal picture opportunity with Wagner.
Wagner in his 6-year career has 778 tackles, 15.5 sacks, and eight interceptions in 88 games, made 3 All-Pro teams, and 4 Pro Bowls. With the exodus of so many key players in this year's offseason, his success has catapulted him into a team leader, alongside quarterback Russell Wilson, guiding and mentoring new and veteran players alike, which is remarkable given just seven years ago Seahawks general manager John Schneider was concerned with Wagner's kidneys functioning correctly before the 2012 draft.
Such hurdles are not always overcome, which begs the question - given Wagner's ascent to leadership is not unlike what many junior servicemembers encounter, what advice might he provide to aspiring troops about staying healthy and developing themselves to be the right Soldier when a leadership opportunity presents itself. Wagner answered that a significant reason for his good health is diet.
"The older you get the more important diet gets," Wagner said. "You realize your body doesn't process the bad food as well as it used to ... So, I think (my) diet has definitely helped me out."
Wagner went on to add that he feels the best advice he could give to junior servicemembers regarding leadership is to find their voice.
"Whatever image of leadership you have in your mind, be that," Wagner emphasized. "Don't try to be somebody that you're not ... I think if you try to be somebody else, it's not going to be as genuine and it won't work. Find a way that's genuinely you and I think you'll have a good start."
It must be working as Wagner has emerged in recent months as a defensive head and all-around team leader. He reports for the Seahawks training camp this week at the Virginia Mason Athletic Center in Renton, Washington, as the Hawks gear up for another attempt at bringing the Lombardi trophy home to Seattle.