During the second quarter of the Rams’ 24-9 loss, security personnel chased the man as he ran across the field toward the Rams sideline.
That’s where the 6-foot, 241-pound Wagner took him down. Rams linebacker Takkarist McKinley was also closing in for a tackle.
“I just saw somebody running on the field — and he wasn’t supposed to be on the field,” Wagner said. “So I saw security was having a little problem, so I helped ‘em out.”
Wagner, 32, is in his 11th NFL season, his first with the Rams after 10 with the Seattle Seahawks.
He said he was “just keeping it safe” when he decided to act.
“You don’t know what that fan’s got or what they’re doing,” Wagner said. “You see it all the time — and we don’t know what they’re carrying in their pockets, whatever that little smoke stuff is.
“But that [stuff] can be dangerous…. Security looked like it was struggling, so I was frustrated, so I took on the fan.”
Rams quarterback Matthew Stafford said he did not see Wagner’s tackle, but he has seen fans on the field during his 13-plus NFL seasons.
Stafford was asked what goes through his mind.
“Just hurry up and get off the field,” he said. “I don’t care how they get off.”
Stafford said he had never tried to tackle an interloper.
“It’s got to be a little bit scary knowing anybody could be doing anything, carrying anything,” he said.
This story originally appeared in Los Angeles Times.