Tuesday in Hawkville: A Ninja Turtle middle linebacker?

A recap of the day’s activities at Virginia Mason Athletic Center for Oct. 16:

FOCUS ON

Bobby Wagner

Bobby Wagner

Bobby Wagner’s backpack. So what’s with the green, turtle-shell backpack that is his almost constant companion? Some sort of rookie hazing for the Seahawks’ starting middle linebacker?

Not exactly. “No rookie hazing thing. It’s all my choice,” Wagner said today in the locker room. “They actually told me to get rid of the backpack and grow up. But they can’t make me get rid of that backpack.”

Wagner admits to being a fan of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles since he was 2-years old. “It hasn’t left at 22,” he said with a smile.

What’s the lingering attraction to the crime-fighting cartoon turtles who were trained by their anthropomorphic rat sensei in the art of ninjutsu?

“Just kind of how they are,” Wagner said. “It was kind of the thing in the 90s. It just caught my eye and my family always had them on birthday cakes and stuff like that. So it kind of never left my side.”

Whatever works. And things have been working very well for the team’s second-round draft choice. Entering Thursday night’s game against the 49ers in San Francisco, Wagner is second on the team with 42 tackles – one behind strong safety Kam Chancellor and strongside linebacker K.J. Wright. And, Wagner turned in a career-high 14 tackles in Sunday’s upset victory over the Patriots.

But back to the backpack. How many does Wagner have? Or has he had? “I’ve had tons and tons of backpacks, but I’ve had this one the longest,” he said. “Probably like seven years. It was with me at Utah State and is still with me here.”

And what if something happens to the beloved backpack? “I actually bought another one,” Wagner said. “So I’m ready.”

OPPONENT WATCH

Frank Gore

Frank Gore (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)

Frank Gore. The 49ers’ Pro Bowl running back is no stranger to the Seahawks. Gore broke touchdown runs of 80 and 79 yards as part of a 207-yard game against them in 2009 and also had a 212-yard outing against them in 2006.

In the 49ers’ first six games this season, Gore has run 470 yards, a 5.4-yard average and four touchdowns. What allows Gore to still get the job done in his eighth season?

“Coach (Ken) Norton and I were just talking about him,” defensive coordinator Gus Bradley said as he was coming off the practice field, referring to the team’s linebacker coach and former 49ers linebacker. “He hits the hole right where it needs to be hit every time and he’s going 100 miles an hour every time.

“And if you’re not in your gap … he has the ability to break a big one at any time.”

The 49ers’ offense is not all about Gore. Everything just seems to start with him.

“They do so many things offensively, and you’re trying to jockey some guys around so you’re in the right leverage and right position,” Bradley said. “But you always have that in the back of your mind: If you try to do that too much, are you giving him enough of a space that he can break a big one?”

INJURY REPORT

The official report, as issued by the team:

Out

OG John Moffitt (knee)

Did not practice

CB Byron Maxwell (hamstring)

Limited participation

SS Kam Chancellor (ankle)

Full participation

DT Clinton McDonald (groin)

With Chancellor limited because of the ankle he tweaked in Sunday’s victory over the Patriots, Jeron Johnson got some work at strong safety in practice.

For the 49ers:

Did not practice

K David Akers (illness)

Limited participation

WR Mario Manningham (shoulder)

T Joe Staley (concussion)

Full participation

RB Brandon Jacobs (knee)

P Andy Lee (hand)

QB Alex Smith (R finger)

LB Tavares Gooden (elbow)

FACING, IF NOT RETRACNG, HIS ROOTS

Sunday, the Seahawks played the Patriots, the team Pete Carroll coached from 1997-99. Thursday night, it’s the 49ers in San Francisco, where Carroll was the defensive coordinator in 1995-96.

Later this season, in back-to-back games at CenturyLink Field, the Seahawks will host the Vikings (Nov. 4), and Carroll was their defensive backs coach from 1985-89; and New York Jets (Nov. 11), and Carroll was their head coach in 1994 and defensive coordinator from 1990-93. They’ll also travel to Toronto to face the Bills (Dec. 16), and Carroll was their defensive backs coach in 1984.

STAT DU JOUR

Look who comprises 3/5th of the stingiest defenses in the NFL when it comes to surrendering points – it’s the NFC West, led by the Seahawks and 49ers (averages include only points scored against the defense, not overall points yielded):

Team                   Avg. pts.

Bears                       11.4

Seahawks               12.8

49ers                       14.3

Cardinals                15.8

Texans                     16.5

UP NEXT

A midday practice on Wednesday, followed by an afternoon flight to San Francisco for Thursday’s game. The players also will have a walkthrough on Thursday morning.

As part of the NFL Network pregame show, which starts at 3 p.m. PDT, Carroll sits down for an interview with Hall of Fame cornerback Deion Sanders, who played for the 49ers when Carroll was their defensive coordinator.

YOU DON’T SAY

“I get to see Patrick a couple times. We used to call it mustache-to-mustache. I get to smell his breath a little bit. It’ll be fun. You enjoy going against competition of this level. So I’m looking forward to having a fun time on Thursday.” – Pro Bowl fullback Michael Robinson on renewing his rivalry with 49ers Pro Bowl linebacker Patrick Willis


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