Bobby Wagner adjusting to no K.J. Wright in Seattle, hopeful he can still return

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As long as both players have been healthy, Bobby Wagner has always had K.J. Wright alongside him during his nine-year run at middle linebacker for the Seattle Seahawks.

But with Wright still unsigned and 2020 first-round pick Jordyn Brooks penciled in as Wright’s eventual full-time replacement, Wagner is  dealing with the possibility that Wright won’t be back with Seattle for the 2021 season.

“Of course it’s awkward,” Wagner said on Thursday. “I’m entering year 10 and I’m used to seeing a particular face and so it’s definitely different. I’m hoping that everything still works out and we’re able to get him back. I think he’s a tremendous player, a tremendous person, someone that anyone would love to have on their team and so we’ll see what happens.”

While Wagner has been rightfully recognized as one of the best linebackers of the last decade with six first-team All-Pro nods and seven Pro Bowl appearances, Wright has been a very strong second piece in the middle of Seattle’s defense. Even with a bit of a position switch last year to help Seattle get Brooks on the field as a rookie, Wright didn’t miss a beat. His statistics suffered by being asked to play more on the line of scrimmage, but his level of play was among the best seasons of his career.

Seahawks G.M. John Schneider said in April that they believed Wright would have been signed already given the season he had. For the time being, Wright still remains a free agent. Head coach Pete Carroll left the door open for a potential reunion with Wright but said that they’re going forward with what they have for the time being last month.

Wagner hopes there’s a way for Wright to be back along side him this year.

“You know I have conversations with him,” Wagner said. “I think he’s kind of waiting for the right opportunity. And I know he’ll get it because he deserves it, and to have a guy that’s coming off like probably one of his best seasons that he’s had, it would it be shame if he didn’t end up on a team that he wanted to be on.”