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Bobby Wagner’s non-holdout holdout as Seahawks open training camp

NFL: Seattle Seahawks-Training Camp Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports

The Seattle Seahawks opened training camp on Thursday with the veterans joining the rookies on the practice field for the first time, and while All Pro middle linebacker Bobby Wagner was in attendance, he was not practicing. Wagner spent Thursday on the sideline in a hoodie observing, rather than participating in practice.

From the looks of things, this appears to be a continuation of his refusal to practice with the team during offseason workouts, where he attended OTAs, but did not actually take part. When asked about it after the first day of practice, Seahawks Head Coach Pete Carroll mentioned that the team will, “hopefully figure out a resolution,” regarding a situation that’s been going on for some time. Here’s a clip of Carroll answering the question regarding Wagner, courtesy of Bob Condotta of the Seattle Times.

So, Wagner is in camp, but is not practicing. Obviously that is creating a small distraction in that you’re here reading about it, the media is talking about it and that means the players are being asked out it. It’s likely a smaller distraction than the actual holdouts the team has seen in the past, including Marshawn Lynch in 2014, Kam Chancellor in 2015 and Earl Thomas in 2018.

There’s no question that Bobby knows how to play and that he doesn’t need the reps to learn his job. He’s one of the best middle linebackers in the history of the NFL, but how much different is showing up for work and refusing to do one’s job? Obviously he and Carroll have discussed it, and things could change moving forward. Hopefully the contract K.J. Wright says is likely to happen soon happens soon, because if Bobby doesn’t take the practice field soon, all of a sudden he’d start missing preseason games.

Now, missing preseason games is not a huge deal for a player of Wagner’s caliber, but missing out on both games and practice deprives the body of the preparation for injury that is needed. Just as Seahawks fans saw with Thomas last year, not participating in training camp increases injury risk. We can’t know how much of a role skipping training camp led to Thomas’ injury, but we do know that not being in camp increases the risk of injury to a player.

So, while Bobby and the team go back and forth about his contract and work to get something done there, for fans it’s left to hope that however much time Wagner misses doesn’t lead to a situation like that seen with Thomas or Dez Bryant.