The rivalry between the Seahawks and the 49ers is heating back up but Seattle linebacker Bobby Wagner thinks it will always mean a little more to his close friend Richard Sherman.
There’s been quite a bit of evidence this season of how the veteran 49ers cornerback finds additional motivation for games. It might be an alleged slight at the coin toss. It could be hearing the opposing quarterback is going to go after his side of the field throughout a game.
Truth or embellished, Sherman will find something to focus on. With his abrupt departure from Seattle well in the past, his displeasure with the organization might not be as big of an emotional trigger as it was. Wagner knows the veteran cornerback will still find something to stoke the fire.
“I don’t know if it still bothers him or not, but he’ll make it bother him before the game,” Wagner said with a smile during his weekly media availability. “He’ll find a way. Maybe I’ll help give him some more stuff to help bother him before the game.
“I’m pretty sure he wants to beat us. I’m not saying that he sat there and marked this game on his calendar but, when it comes up, you know that he wants to win down there. Look at how he was the last game that they won down there, he was pretty excited about it. I’ll try to make sure he’s not excited this week.”
Arguably Sherman’s departure from Seattle was due largely in part to the injury to his Achilles that ended his 2017 season after nine games. Wagner has noticed that Sherman is looking physically healthier, not dealing with the limitations that hindered his mobility in 2018. Naturally, Wagner’s compliments don’t come without a little ribbing.
“He looks really good,” Wagner said. “He got a couple picks, he ran one back. He almost got caught when he ran it back. He almost fumbled it too. We’ve got to talk to him about that. He looks great, coming back to his old self.”
The friendly competition between Wagner and Sherman will always exist. The two All-Pro defenders spent six years together as teammates in Seattle and still see each other during the offseason. They have a standing bet for games against each other where the loser pays for the winner's meal.
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Wagner and Sherman’s rivalry also transfers to the basketball court, where the two play at the house that Sherman still maintains in Seattle. Wagner doesn’t want to lose in any fashion to his former teammate, mostly because of the ensuing aftermath.
“Richard is a person that’s not going to let you live that down until the following season,” Wagner said. “Unless you beat him at basketball in his house. He’ll deny it, but I’m pretty sure a guy like that has cameras at his house and we can find some footage.”