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Seahawks notebook: Bobby Wagner joins elite company by being named first-team All-Pro for sixth time

UPDATED: Fri., Jan. 8, 2021

Seattle Seahawks middle linebacker Bobby Wagner (54) during an NFL football game against the San Francisco 49ers, Sunday, Jan. 3, 2021, in Glendale, Ariz.   (Associated Press)
Seattle Seahawks middle linebacker Bobby Wagner (54) during an NFL football game against the San Francisco 49ers, Sunday, Jan. 3, 2021, in Glendale, Ariz.  (Associated Press)
By Bob Condotta Seattle Times

SEATTLE – Linebacker Bobby Wagner is now 30 and one of just two defensive players left from the Seahawks’ Legion of Boom era.

But one thing that hasn’t changed is Wagner being named to The Associated Press All-Pro first team just about every season.

Wagner was named to the team Friday for the sixth time in his nine-year NFL career. That extends his Seahawks record, and he is the 11th linebacker since the AP began naming its team in the 1940s to be a six-time, first-team selection. According to the AP, all the other 10 players have made the Hall of Fame. It is also the fifth consecutive season Wagner has been first team.

Seahawks safety Jamal Adams and receiver DK Metcalf were named to the second team. Punter Michael Dickson and snapper Tyler Ott finished third in voting at their positions and just missed making the team.

Though there are any number of All-Star teams, the AP All-Pro squad tends to be regarded as the most prestigious one to make, in part because the NFL recognizes the AP awards.

Wagner, who turned 30 in July, led the Seahawks this year with 138 tackles, seventh in the NFL, and the ninth straight season in which he has had 100 or more, a team record.

Wagner told the AP the honor was especially meaningful this year given the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“I think it’s been different on so many levels, obviously,” Wagner said. “What you have to deal with on a day-to-day basis when you’re in the building, on the field, things of that nature, but all the stuff that you have to deal with outside with family and the virus and things of that nature, it’s been a crazy season for sure.

“One of the most challenging seasons. And to kind of be recognized for this during a really challenging years is definitely a blessing.”

As for making the team for a sixth time, Wagner said: “I think it just shows the discipline that you have to have, the consistency that you have to have, because you have to be able to withstand challenges like this. What we’re going through is nothing compared to what the world has gone through; you can’t even compare to that. But to know that when you lock in and focus, you can still play at a high level is something that you’re hang your hat on.”

Hall of Fame left tackle Walter Jones had held the Seahawks record for most appearances on the AP All-Pro first team with four. Kenny Easley, Earl Thomas, Richard Sherman and Cortez Kennedy made it three times.

Metcalf was honored on the second team for the first time in his career after setting a Seahawks record with 1,303 receiving yards.

Adams, who made the first team last season with the Jets, may well have done so again had he not missed four games in the first half of the year because of a groin injury. Adams set an NFL season record for sacks by a defensive back with 9.5.

Running back Penny questionable vs. Rams

The Seahawks downgraded running back Rashaad Penny to questionable for Saturday’s wild-card playoff against the Rams because of a knee injury, and they elevated Alex Collins from the practice squad.

Penny has played in the past three games since returning from an ACL injury suffered on Dec. 8, 2019. He left late in Sunday’s win over the 49ers after suffering cramps.

Penny was listed as limited in practice Thursday because of a knee issue but had not been added to the game-status report. That seemed to indicate he might be getting a rest day.

Whether this is related to the 2019 injury is unclear.

Seattle has three other running backs all listed as full go for Saturday’s game – starter Chris Carson and reserves Carlos Hyde and rookie DeeJay Dallas.

Penny, the Seahawks’ first-round draft pick in 2018, played 28 snaps against the 49ers and had 19 yards on six carries in filling the No. 2 role with Hyde out because of an illness. It was Penny’s most significant action since his injury. He played a combined 10 snaps in his first two games.

Coach Pete Carroll said Penny had suffered a “classic” case of cramps Sunday from taking on a larger role after not playing much.

Once Penny departed against the 49ers, Collins took over that role. He had 29 yards on five carries, including a late touchdown in a 26-23 win.

Collins was elevated off the practice squad three times this season and finished with 77 yards on 18 carries and two touchdowns.

Teams can elevate two players off the practice squad each week during the regular season, but during the playoffs there is no limit to how often each player can be elevated.

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