Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Seattle's Wagner Aiming for a 2nd Ring to Match Cousin Tuck

Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Seattle's Wagner Aiming for a 2nd Ring to Match Cousin Tuck

Article excerpt

PHOENIX - The best thing Seahawks All-Pro linebacker Bobby Wagner learned from Justin Tuck came from watching what his cousin did in the Super Bowl, not what he said.

Tuck was the most disruptive player for the Giants in their two Super Bowl victories in the Tom Coughlin era, only to have Eli Manning steal the Most Valuable Player award from him both times, including here seven years ago.

Wagner has the chance to match Tuck's ring total Sunday in Super Bowl XLIX when he steps inside University of Phoenix Stadium, where the former Giants defensive end and current Raider won his first in an epic upset over the same opponent: New England.

"If you want people to see you as a good player, you definitely have to perform at the highest level on the biggest stage," Wagner said. "After all the media stuff, after all the Super Bowl fun and events, you've got to realize you have to get back to business and get down to business. Nothing else matters."

Wagner was sidelined for five weeks midway through this regular season because of a torn ligament and a fractured sesamoid bone in his foot.

And while he was out, the Seahawks were clearly missing something.

Wagner returned against the Cardinals in Week 12 and the Seahawks won that game against the then-NFC West division leaders, 19-3.

In fact, Seattle has not lost since and its defense, with Wagner back in the middle, did not allow a fourth-quarter point during the six-game winning streak with which they closed the regular season.

"He comes in early before anybody gets there and watches his film," Seahawks linebackers coach Ken Norton Jr. said of Wagner. "He stays later after everybody's gone watching film of other elite players to see what they do really well. Then he puts it all together with his natural ability -- his speed, his size, his strength, his instincts - and he turns that into plays and having a dominant presence on the field. …

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