Bobby Wagner recalls Richard Sherman being one of the first to trade jerseys with another player. Now the tradition has become a mainstay following each NFL game.
Wagner has a vast collection of threads that began with acquiring the jerseys of all his teammates – Sherman, Earl Thomas, Kam Chancellor, K.J. Wright, Michael Bennett and others. He then began trading with other stars around the league like Von Miller and Derrick Johnson or players he had a personal connection to like Saints safety and longtime family friend Marcus Williams. Wagner grew up with Williams’ older brother and Williams was good friends with Wagner’s younger brother.
“I think it’s a way to kind of show respect about the people that you’re going against and your friends that you play against – trying to have something to remember this league that doesn’t last for long,” Wagner told NBC Sports Northwest on the recent episode of the "Talkin’ Seahawks Podcast.”
Wagner has now gotten to the stature to where young players in the NFL will approach him postgame and ask for his jersey. Last year it was Dallas Cowboys linebackers Jaylon Smith and Leighton Vander Esch.
“That’s pretty dope to have that type of respect in the league,” Wagner said. “It’s a cool feeling.”
He’s pulled the same move. In 2018, when everyone expected it to be Larry Fitzgerald’s last season, Wagner sought out Fitz following one of their matchups to gift the receiver his jersey. He said that Fitz has long been one of his favorite players to go against.
Fitzgerald, being the exceptional human that he is, made sure to express his gratitude.
“At some point during the offseason, I got a FedEx, and he sent me a jersey in return,” Wagner said. “That just speaks to the type of person he is. Obviously I’ve got a lot of respect for him.”
He added that Aaron Donald is next on his list.
So what will Wagner do with all of the jerseys? He said he’s already hung up a few in his house, but he’s workshopping a few ideas for how to organize the rest.
“It’s going to be something unique,” Wagner assured. “Something dope.”
Wagner obviously isn’t the only player around the league with a treasure trove of game-worn jerseys, but it is further insight into his enlightened mindset and approach to football.
A few months back we saw the linebacker serve as his own agent, flex his business acumen and negotiate the richest contract for a middle linebacker in league history. His collection of jerseys shows how deliberate his is when it comes to making the most of his time in the NFL.
“Sometimes it’s important to slow down and appreciate all you’ve accomplished so far knowing that you still want more,” Wagner said. “As the game slows down, life slows down as well, and you’re able to appreciate a lot of things.”
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