Seahawks Insider

Russell Okung practicing MMA this offseason

Post by Eric Williams on April 11, 2013 at 2:00 pm with 49 Comments »
April 11, 2013 2:13 pm
Seattle Seahawks offensive tackle Russell Okung. (Tony Overman/The Olympian)
Seattle Seahawks offensive tackle Russell Okung. (Tony Overman/The Olympian)

Seattle Seahawks left tackle Russell Okung has found a relevant alternative to practicing kick slides and pass sets this offseason – Mixed Martial Arts.

Okung said he’s taken up a regular regimen of MMA work in his hometown of Houston to help improve his quickness, agility and flexibility for the upcoming season.

“There’s a place down in Houston called Elite MMA, and I just got into it,” Okung said. “It really involves a lot of quick bursts, and you’re really maxing out your body in every effort. So I got into that.

“It’s pretty fun. It’s really good. It’s the best way to try and kind of simulate line play, so I like it.”

I had an opportunity to talk with Okung about his new workout plan and other things this morning. The Oklahoma State University product doesn’t talk much with reporters during the season, so today provided a chance to kick around a number of different topics.

Okung discussed another thing he’s working on during his spare time – continued education He’s one of 21 current and former NFL players who will participate in the first NFL Franchising Boot Camp at the Ross School of Business at the University of Michigan on April 26-29.

The participants will listen to presentations from business leaders and professors during the four-day camp, including Carolina Panthers owner Jerry Richardson, who spent more than three decades in the restaurant business, and will serve as the keynote speaker.

A marketing major at OSU, Okung said he worked at Subway, Burger King and Office Depot, along with other odd jobs growing up.

“I can’t help but to think about life after football,” Okung said. “While I’m at this stage in my life where I have this platform and I have the ability to learn things, I have to take advantage of them. I don’t want to look back after I get done playing and say I didn’t work toward any goals.

“This is just something fun. It’s something fun and new to learn. And it’s something I’m really excited about because I went to school for business marketing. So just kind of learning the whole franchising deal and running your own business operation is something new and I’m trying to get into it.”

Along with continuing his education, Okung discussed improving his performance on the field, which included his first Pro Bowl invitation in 2012.

Okung said staying healthy and improving his technique were the keys to his breakout season last year.

“It was a tremendous experience,” Okung said about the Pro Bowl. “You dream of it. But funny enough, it really wasn’t a big deal when I actually go the accolade. It was great, and I really appreciate everybody that supported me and voted.

“But throughout that whole year, I was thinking to myself, ‘How can I bring the best Russell Okung to the team? And how can I help this team make this push to the playoffs?’ And once it became about that, all the other things follow.”

Like he did in 2012, Okung expects teammate offensive guard James Carpenter to have a breakout season in 2013 if he can stay healthy. Seattle’s first round pick in 2011, Carpenter finished last season on the injured reserve after coming back early from reconstructive knee surgery.

“Tom does a great job of getting our room really together, so when a guy does go down, somebody else has something to bring,” Okung said. “But James, he’s an animal. When he’s healthy, he’s hard to beat. I don’t think there’s a guy who can line up over him and really say they can beat him, when he’s healthy.

“Just like me, I believe he’ll come back from the injury. I think the best is yet to come for him.”

Leave a comment Comments → 49
  1. Would LOVE that to be true about Carp! Here’s to hoping

  2. SandpointHawk says:

    Great info Eric, Thanks so much…

  3. Wow, that sounds fantastic, I can totally see that being a great thing for his play, I remember one of the positives which is always mentioned about OL is if they used to wrestle when they were younger. As long as he doesn’t get hurt doing it, I’m for it!

  4. WiscCory says:

    I hope Carp shows big in 2013. I have my doubts.

  5. bbnate420 says:

    Let’s hope Russell keeps his ankles out of those leg bars. Fingers crossed!

  6. moparmarty says:

    If not you can bet we will be picking up a couple more OL that will be able to pick up the slack. Can’t wait for the draft and onto the season. Go Hawks!

  7. FleaFlicker says:

    Let’s hope we get a re-match against Trent Cole!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  8. RDPoulsbo says:

    I’m not sure how much mma actually helps, I mean, Amanda Brooks isn’t going to charge in and roundhouse him from the edge. I’m guessing given his size, he’s focusing more on judo or wrestling techniques, which will really help with balance. In any case, he’s keeping in shape during the preseason, do no complaints here.

    Carp was a 1st rounder that lost his job to Berno of all people when healthy. I’m holding out hope that he makes it as a guard, but from here on, he’s a reclamation project.

  9. CDHawkFan says:

    Why did Okung always look like he was kicking out (false start) just before the snap? Thankfully he didn’t get called nearly as much as I thought he should have.

  10. Carp should have been drafted as a LG and I’m glad that’s where he’s going to play next year. I have full confidence in him being a good, solid player at that position.

  11. vichawkfan says:

    Antoine – put the pen to paper man !

  12. Seriously what is up with Antoine?! Let’s go man, this is a superbowl caliber team, and you are considering the Vikes? Let’s go bud!

  13. jawpeace says:

    As someone who has been teaching traditional karate for years, I am not a fan of MMA. However I do think it will benefit Okung. One thing that should improve is eye hand coordination. When a defender tries to grab him he should be able to swat away their attempt to do so. Though I always imagined Martial Arts that would teach those techniques to be better for defenders as offensive players are predominantly the ones who grab and hang on in the trenches. I tell you what, Trent Cole would not be able to do what he did after Okung gets trained.

  14. chuck_easton says:

    Antoine is now reviewing offers from the Seahawks, the Vikings, and another team thought to be the Redskins.

    Seattle just was nice enough to make the first offer and get the ball rolling. Now Winfield is seeing who is prepared to pay the most.

    I would love him to be here, but not if it means a bidding war to get him.

  15. Ya, if he is all about money, he won’t be signing here unfortunately. You’d think these guys would want the best chance to win a championship…but money does rule the world, so i guess its not that surprising.

  16. Palerydr says:

    Speaking of getting paid can anybody tell me how playoff money is generated? Does a player get a prorated share of a regular game check, is there a pre set scale or is this money set aside at the start of the year from a fund of some kind maybe predesignated TV money? Also I’m guessing this money doesn’t count against the salary cap?

  17. Anyone having ankle problems, I would suggest power ice skating. For those that have never worn good ice skates, it’s basically a boot that protects your ankle and doesn’t allow it to “separate” from the calf.

    The benefit is while on the skates and ice, you easily build up those ankle/calf muscles without much pain.

    Combine that with throwing a pack or parachute on your back, once your get good at skating, and you have a work out akin to Jerry Rice running up that hill everyday without as much stress on the ankles.

    Builds up the groin muscles as well. Snow skiing does the same thing but it’s easier/safer to find an ice rink than it is to find a ski slope in April/May/June.

    Any form of MMA is excellent for foot and hand work.

    Okung seems to be learning for Big Walt (tied for second best ‘Hawk of all time, in my opinion) and exploring different ways of making his game better. Not everyone can push a Caddy uphill in the Georgia heat.

    Not to mention the d-bag from Philly who hip tossed him after a play was over. Now he can block it and go all “Bruce Lee Roy” on him.

  18. If it weren’t about the money and who paid the most (or close to it) – most players in the history of sports wouldn’t be playing for their personal favorite teams.

  19. hawkfaninoklahoma says:

    good write up on who the hawks have met with predraft

  20. How about spending the offseasondoing football drills to work on your game. Maybe that’s just too logical.

    I do believe carpenter will turn out at rt. His play improved with every game last season. my only worry is injury with carpenter.

  21. LeePHilI says:

    For a guy like me, who really doesn’t care much about baseball, it sure is great that our football team has become a 24/7/365 obsession!

    Winfield would be great, but at his age, it’s up to him whether a winning team or a larger paycheck is most important.

  22. Does anybody know what Okung’s ankle injury was? High ankle or rolled sprain? Peroneal tendon? I’d heard some years back that clubs were considering having their players practice with ankle braces to protect them from accidents to their ankles. Wonder if it might not be such a bad idea for someone who’s just coming back from injury? Practice in 5 weeks?

  23. Sarcasticus says:

    I too always thought Okung was dropping back into pass pro a little quick with no flag, but more importantly, why does Okung look so much like the Miller High Life beer guy?

  24. If Okung, Carp & Unger stay healthy all season I do believe that our left side will “be back” so to speak. Playing at full strength between two pro bowlers will be very nice! I do have high hopes for Carpenter.

  25. HonHawksLSB says:

    Eric, thank you for that interview! Sounds like Okung is coming into his prime. Interesting that he is studying the very art that tore his pectoral muscle on that cheap shot.

    Won’t happen next time.

    Love the confidence he has in Carp. If Carp turns into a mauling LG then Beast and Turbo might break 1,000 rushing yards.

    Hon Hawks!

  26. bbnate420 says:

    Carp NEVER lost his job to Breno when healthy. He played the first game of 2011 at LG due to an injury and then started the rest of the year at RT until his ACL injury. Cut the crap.

  27. jboard1, from what I read his son is in high school and quite an athlete. Winfield is in a hard spot.

    Does he uproot his family for a “chance” to play elsewhere? You got to remember, this is the NFl. Just because you sign a contract, that doesn’t mean you make the team or get any other money besides the signing bonus.

    A bonus which probably isn’t going to be much.

    I know people love to break it down to “money” but sometimes, especially when a player has a solid home life, had years of making money and teenage kids rooted in that town…

    the decision to move on isn’t an easy one to make.

  28. raymaines says:

    God bless the boy, but I really wish I could make $1.323 million next year with a very real chance I would make that much again, or maybe more, the next year.

  29. raymaines says:

    Ah that I were 8″ taller, 75 lbs heavier, 50 years younger, 100% more co-ordinated, 200% more ambitious, 300% more talented ………….

    I’d be rich! Rich, I tell ya!!

  30. ryanryan says:

    its likely winfields LAST contract, he’d be an idiot to make it about anything else but the money.

  31. Dukeshire says:

    Bbnate – Of course you’re right, but try arguing that to pabuwal.

  32. Wow! After watching the interview, it appears he was basically saying that half the players who have ADD or with some sort of medical reason are taking the drug. I certainly didn’t take it that he was trying to be a Conseco or anything. Interesting how the media spins things. If nothing else, this should quiet him down a bit.

    Glad I didn’t get quoted nationally when I was 25 yrs old! ; )

  33. RDPoulsbo says:

    Cut what crap? Was Carp not drafted to play RT, only to show up in the offseason overweight and out of shape? The injury was a convenient excuse, but he’s certainly was out of favor with PC before that in his rookie TC and isn’t competing for the position he was drafted to play any longer.

  34. GeorgiaHawk says:

    bbnate420- Did you say cut the crap or cut the Carp? I just hope he cuts the weight and shows up in shape this year. Clearly, ( imo ) our biggest weakness right now is pass protection.

  35. After watching the video – I can see both sides – was he misquoted, not IMO, but it wasn’t as everyone was taking either.

    he does throw Browner under the bus again, with his quote at the end.

  36. upchopper says:

    the song needs to be changed to:
    “Everybody was Okung Fu Fighting”

    those cats were fast as lightning

  37. PugetHawk says:

    I am pretty sure Pete felt Carp was going to play either RT or Guard when they drafted him. That is what Pete has said anyway. When Carp came in at LG I felt he was more dominant than at RT. Injuries are an issue but when he is healthy he will be a starting guard and a good one at that. Okung didn’t have to go out of his way to make that point.

  38. RDPoulsbo says:

    To paraphrase PC/JS after they drafted Carp and Moffitt, “obviously, this is a statement about what were going to do. A dominant running game through the right side of our line…” Sure didn’t sound like Carp was going to play LG at that time.

  39. bbnate420 says:

    Pete and Tom Cable both talked about Carp’s versatility right after the draft, but that’s totally beside the point. The injury was a convenient excuse? What are you talking about? He played LG the 2011 opener because Gallery was hurt. He went back to RT week 2. If it was a convenient excuse, then why did they move him back to RT? If you’re saying that Carp was moved to LG before 2012 simply because Breno outplayed him, then I have to seriously disagree.

    Carp was not healthy coming into 2012, never was the entire year really, so your statement that, “Carp was a 1st rounder that lost his job to Berno of all people when healthy,” is still factually incorrect. I think there were numerous reasons that Carp was moved to LG, Breno’s play was simply one of them. They never had a battle for starting RT when both were healthy, unless you count 2011 when Carp was the one starting before his ACL. Personally, I don’t give a crap that Carp’s not playing RT if he has a healthy and good 2013 at LG. I don’t really get why anyone else would either. RT is not a premium position. All you have to do is look at the contracts given out this off-season to see that.

    Duke, that’s funny. I was on your side in the bet with pabuwal, but I didn’t want to stick my neck out there. I felt that you won in the spirit of the bet. You guys should’ve had Chuck_Easton draw up the language of the bet before hand.

  40. bbnate420 says:

    Sherman was not misquoted, but his comment was taken out of context. Unfortunately, it happens all the time in the media. It’s their job to get people to read or watch. They could’ve asked for clarification, but they wanted a controversy to report. Sherman should be intelligent enough to know that this is going to happen, especially with the reputation he’s gained this off-season. He should pick his words more carefully if he doesn’t want to fall into this trap. Personally, I have no problem with him speaking from the heart and not just robotically regurgitating pre-approved talking points.

  41. bbnate–I think its pretty obvious that there is some disappointment in the Hawks camp with Carps footspeed. Carrol has made it plain that his future is likely at LG, but thats not at all what was being said when he was drafted; he was drafted to play RT. Now, since being drafted, its been a perfect storm for Carp, and not all is his fault.

    He showed up fat and out of shape (his fault), but had no offseason (not his), then struggled at RT (some of both) and while he improved as the year went on, it wasnt enough to warrant warm feelings. Then he got hurt (some of both; had he been in better shape it might not have happened), and Seattle rushed him back rather than be extra cautious, and that bit them in the butt HARD, as he got hurt again (not his fault).

    There was the fact that Breno played far better than Seattle had counted on in 2011, and the fact he got paid (not Carps fault). And the fact that no one else seems able to play LG worth a damn (McQ is only average at best) and that isnt Carps fault either.

    But he isnt being moved to LG because Breno is a Pro Bowler, he’s being moved to LG because he’s not good enough to play RT, his footspeed is sadly lacking for a RT. He’s being moved because he always has projected as a LG, and Tom Cable was idiot enough to think he could turn a sows ear into a silk purse. And you cant.

    In hindsight, drafting a guy in the first round that projected as a LG and trying to make him a RT was a bad idea, and that is 90% on Tom Cable. Notice they havent given Cable any more high picks since Carp and Moffit havent exactly set the world on fire. Which is why Cable is so determined to make Sweezy the starter at RG–it will make him look like a guru, instead of a bad to mediocre talent evaluator after whiffing on Moffit and Carpenter.

    Now, Moffit may show up in shape and win the RG spot and turn out okay. And Carp may make a Pro Bowl LG. I sure hope so. But its more likely Carp is just okay at LG because of his slow footspeed, and that Moffit is a benchwarmer one contract player. At least thats how it looks now.

    Myself? Im hoping like Hell Carp tears it up at LG and Moffit beats out Sweezy, but Im not counting on it.

    And Im still pissed Lemuel JeanPierre wasnt given the chance to play LG or RG, I thought he outplayed McQ and the rest at G when given the opportunity. Instead, he’s stuck on the bench backing up Unger.

  42. bbnate420 says:

    STTBM, saying that Carp was moved to LG simply because he wasn’t good enough to play RT is totally speculative and your opinion. Which is fine, but it’s hardly a fact. I disagree. I think numerous things went into the decision to move him to LG. And PC and Cable most certainly did play up his versatility after they drafted him. I remember it. They never said he was definitely going to end up at RT. He wasn’t drafted for one particular position, they NEVER said that. You can infer what you wish. They had a young o-line with numerous holes, so I believe they liked the fact that he could play multiple positions.

    And I have no problem with drafting him in the 1st even if they knew he would be a OG. G’s are taken at the end of the 1st all the time. There’s a decent chance that 2 OG’s go in the first 15-20 this draft. It was a good pick if he turns out be to be a good LG. RT is not a premium position. It’d be different if they drafted him to be the franchise LT and he had to be moved to OG. And I think there’s a 90 % chance that Carp is still starting at RT if he didn’t tear his ACL.

  43. GeorgiaHawk says:

    STTBM- I couldn’t have long windedly said it any better in regards to Carpitt.

  44. This cracks me up. In the aforementioned article at
    the author calls Sherman a quarterback. I mean even a layman knows the difference between a quarterback and a cornerback, but I suppose to her they all sound the same.
    Don’t get me wrong, I don’t expect her to be an NFL expert, but come on!

  45. bbnate–I agree that numerous things went into moving Carp to LG. Which is what I said. But there is no way they move a first round pick to LG even with Giac on the team unless they feel he just wont cut it at RT. RT are harder to find, and worth far more in salary and draft picks, than LG’s. Now, the flat cap and the idiotically rising salaries of the past have changed the market, and OLD RT’s arent making the big bucks, but RT is still more highly valued than either G position.

    I think Carrol wasnt 100% sure Carp could be a RT, but Cable was. Cable was wrong. However, they let him have his man because our line was a shambles, and they were sure that if he failed at RT, they could make a heck of a lG out of him. Which is hopefully what will occur.

    GeorgiaHawk–Yeah, long-winded is my specialty. I type really fast and have too much stress so this blog is a great escape.And I tend to be overly analytical…

  46. SKYTZO425 says:

    Carp was absolutely TERRIBLE at RT, but was dominant at LG last year for the minimal time he was healthy. No matter the reason he was switched from RT to LG the fact that he was awful at RT means he’d have been switched to LG if he’d gotten hurt or not because Pete doesn’t let guys continue to play positions they suck at.

    Now, if he comes back next year and plays like he did last year or better he’ll definitely be worth the first round pick. Top LGs get picked higher than RTs, it’s much better to have a mauler at LG next to a top notch LT than it is to have a great RT, especially when you have a between the tackles RB like Lynch who’sgoing to pound the rock over 20 times a game.

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