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.”