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Home just five days from a deployment to Afghanistan, Jeremy Cander and Evan Hallett had some shopping to do.
With the majority of their belongings packed away in storage, the 3rd Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division Soldiers decided to pick up a few basic household items from the JBLM Lewis Main Exchange Nov. 26. They didnt think theyd run into a celebrity on their shopping trip.
Somewhere between the shoes and the mens clothing, Seattle Seahawks linebacker Bobby Wagner walked up to the Soldiers and shook their hands. Wagner was headed to the front of the store for a scheduled meet and greet but stopped midway through the store for an impromptu meeting.
The Soldiers told him they had recently returned from Afghanistan.
How was it over there? Wagner asked.
It was pretty crazy, Cander said.
Wagner proceeded to his designated table at the front of the store to sign autographs and pose for photos with fans of the Seahawks and his alma mater, Utah State.
Specialist Ramel Rivera, 42nd Military Police Brigade, isnt a Seahawks fan, but his girlfriend is. He stood in line to meet Wagner and ask him to sign a Seahawks football as a surprise for his girlfriend.
Wagner heard a lot of the same comments from fans in line about Seattles previous-day loss to the Miami Dolphins. They congratulated him for an interception that was nullified by penalty and asked about the sprinklers that came on late during the third quarter when the Seattle defense was on the field.
I thought it was a prank, Wagner said. It came up and shot at me in the face.
The visit marks Wagners second to JBLM, who also traveled down with teammates Russell Wilson, Brandon Mebane and Greg Scruggs in October to visit with the Raiders of 4th Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division before they deployed.
In his rookie season, Wagner has made an immediate impact for Seattle, recording 90 tackles and two sacks in 11 games. The California native said he enjoys the scenery and rain that are characteristic of the Pacific Northwest. And about lining up at CenturyLink Field? Its the loudest stadium Ive ever been to in my life, Wagner said. Especially when the crowd is into it. For me its actually easier on the road because I can talk to the defense.
Wagner is the second Seahawks player to visit the Exchange this month; Leroy Hill stopped by for a meet and greet Nov. 13.