Portland, Ore. (KOIN) — Every week for much of his National Football League career, Pro-Bowl linebacker Bobby Wagner has stepped to the podium to address the media in the same fashion.
“How’s it going?”
“How’s everybody doing?”
This year, his 10th in the NFL, Wagner’s approach to the podium and his media availabilities have been different than ever before.
“I know I always come up here and answer your guys’ questions, and talk about what you want to talk about but I decided to kinda switch it up,” Wagner said to begin an availability in early September. “This year, before we start, I’m going to talk about something I want to talk about.”
And so, Weekly Wisdom with Wagner was born at the Seahawks practice facility.
“It came from just all the work I’ve been doing outside of football,” Wagner explained why he decided to change the way he does availabilities. “We always preach about how there’s more to life than football, and so I was trying to figure out how to be a symbol of that and talk about something other than football for a change.”
Wagner, who is consistently the first person at the Seahawks practice facility every morning, says as soon as he’s done with practices and meetings for his Seahawks duties, he switches gears, putting his entrepreneurial passions to use.
“I’m constantly looking at different companies, constantly reading, constantly trying to grow as a person because I think it’s important that we start to open the conversation up that you can do more than just your sport.”
One of the most public moves in recent years of Wagner reminding the world the All-Pro, franchise leader in tackles, has so much more to offer the world than solely his skills on the football season, was in 2019 when he negotiated his own three-year contract with the Seahawks worth $54 million dollars. At the time, the deal made him the highest-paid inside linebacker in the NFL.
“It was about challenging myself and showing players that there’s another option, showing players that no matter what you do, whether you have an agent or you don’t have an agent, it’s really about educating yourself, educating yourself in the business that you perform in,” he told ESPN at the time. “We know the statistics. We know that whenever you’re done, a lot of us tend to go broke or don’t take good care of our money and I feel like it’s because we don’t educate ourselves while we’re here.”
It’s no wonder this season, several of Wagner’s Wednesday topics have their roots in financially empowering people who generally have not had great financial literacy. One of the companies Wagner highlighted is Public.com.
“It’s an investment app focused on helping educate people on how to invest and build up financial literacy,” said Wagner. “The mission is to make the public markets work for everyone”
His username is BusinessWags and he invited people to follow him and “let’s change the way people look at investing.”
Another common theme is highlighting ways in which the 10-year veteran, who was told he’d be fortunate to make it three seasons in the NFL at his position, has been able to thrive, both mentally and physically for the last decade.
On September 29th, he talked about the role yoga and meditation have played in his preparation.
“I personally find a lot of peace in meditation and yoga,” said Wagner. “When I heard about it, I didn’t think it was something for me. I thought it was something that was a lot different than what it was.”
“I think the reason that I’ve been as healthy as I have been, and on the field as much as I have been is because I do yoga all the time,” said Wagner, who says he prefers hot yoga.
On December 29th, the spotlight shone brightly on mental health.
“I think there’s a lot of misconceptions when it comes to the way you take care of your mentals,” said Wagner. “When I first got into this league… I didn’t realize how much of this game is mental, not just from the standpoint of intellectually, but just from the highs, the lows and the toll it takes on you mentally.”
“No matter what sport, or profession you’re in, there’s a mental aspect to it. I think a lot of the times we hide the stuff that we go through on a personal level and we think that is strength and the real strength is knowing when you need help.”
The causes, groups, and companies Wagner chose to highlight this season varied greatly, but the common thread is empowerment – empowering those overlooked, empowering the next generation with what’s worked for him, empowering his peers to think about life outside the hash marks.
“I feel like that’s the reason a lot of guys get really confused or have trouble when they leave their sport that they’re playing because they focus so much of their time and energy on that sport that they don’t realize that it can be taken away from you at any moment and you have to have something else because this game doesn’t last forever.”
Here’s the full list of Wagner’s Wednesday Wisdom Highlights for each week of the 2021 NFL season:
Week 1: PG Lang
Week 2: Public.com
Week 4: Meditation & Yoga
Week 6: HBCUvc
Week 7: The Seat of the Soul
Week 8: Halloween Costumes with Head Start
Week 9: The Deep Game of Kobe Bryant
Week 10: The Alchemist, by Paulo Coelho
Week 11: The Brilliance of Women
Week 12: Local businesses, Hilltop Coffee & Kitchen
Week 13: Silicone Valley Tour with Bobby Wagner; #tackleeverything
Week 14: Hustle Harder, Hustle Smarter by 50 Cent
Week 15: Mental Wellness