Rams All-Pros Aaron Donald and Jalen Ramsey led the initial recruiting effort that eventually drew Bobby Wagner to sign with the team.
That was only one of the highlights that Wagner, who grew up in the Inland Empire, revealed during an introductory news conference Monday.
General manager Les Snead and coach Sean McVay are scheduled to also address reporters, but here are some takeaways from Wagner’s videoconference:
The six-time All-Pro with the Seattle Seahawks was drawn to the Rams by their creativity and winning culture:
“Obviously, you like the pass rush,” he said. “There’s just so much talent from top to bottom. I thought it would be a good place to be and being home and being on a great defense was something that was interesting to me.
Donald and Ramsey reached out immediately after Wagner was released by the Seahawks:
“You watch it and admire it from afar,” he said. “You know [the Rams] are willing to do whatever they can to win. But I think too is you have guys like that, players like that, that are All-Pros in their own right reach, out to you and want to team up.”
He said Donald and Ramsey told him they admired his game:
“And if there was an opportunity to come to L.A., I should check it out,” he said. “And that’s what I did.”
Wagner, who serves as his own agent, thought he never would leave Seattle:
“But as soon as they let me go, you have to kind of separate the emotions of a player and an agent,” he said. “I could be frustrated as a player but at the end of the day I had a job to do to try to figure out where my next home was going to be. … The player kind of took it personally but the agent went to work. … It was definitely stressful because you been in a place for 10 years and there was this idea that you didn’t think you were going to leave.”
Wagner does not have “hate” in his heart for the Seahawks. He wanted to stay close to home and play in front of family. To be able to play against them twice a season was the “cherry on top”:
“I’ll make sure [the Seahawks] see me every time we play them,” he said, “so they’ll know where I’m at and I’ll make sure I tell them. It won’t be a quiet game for me.”
On how he was unceremoniously released without a call from the Seahawks:
“After 10 years it could have been a simple conversation,” he said. “Even if they wanted to go in a different direction. … I’ve shown the capability of handling tough conversations. We had tough conversations throughout my 10-year career there so it [would have been] easy to just pick up the phone and call.”
Wagner said his relationship with the Seahawks will be mended at some point. He said he had “no hatred” toward Seattle or the Seahawks and that he was treated well by coach Pete Carroll, general manager John Schneider and the organization. He texted them to let them know he did not appreciate the lack of communication at the end. But that would not be a source of motivation. However, he also added …
“That game in Seattle will definitely be interesting for sure.”