Just minutes after signing a contract that made him a rich man, Seattle Seahawks offensive tackle hit the practice field and was knocked back to reality by the bellowing voice of offensive line coach Alex Gibbs.
Okung knows the hard-driving Gibbs will keep him honest and grounded in his quest to replace one of the best tackles in the game in Walter Jones.
“What is he, ike, the oldest offensive line coach ever in the league right now?” joked Okung. “But obviously he’s one of the best zone blocking coaches, if not the best offensive line coach in the game right now. So whatever he tells me to do, I’ll do.”
Okung worked with the second unit during the two-hour practice, as head coach Pete Carroll said he will worked the 22-year-old in slowly. Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll said it will be a week to 10 days before Okung is thrust in with the first unit.
As far as the contract, according to Carroll the team held firm.
“I think this was a challenge to John Idzik and John Schneider and myself, how firm are we going to stand," Carroll said. "This could have been done sooner. We stood very strong; I really think John (Schneider) did a great job of hanging in there and holding the line where we wanted to.
“Unfortunately, Russell is well behind now and he’ll be in a really scramble mode for some time. It’s unfortunate it took so long, but we’re grateful that it’s finally done.” On why it took so long to Okung into camp, here’s what Carroll had to say:
“I think they took a stance that it was more important to fight for a contract that they thought (was fair), at the expense of him being out of his football. That’s the way it goes. It puts Russell behind; it puts us behind, because they took a stance.” Running back Leon Washington again scrimmaged during team drills in the full-padded practice and came through well, taking a couple nice shots in the process.
“I love it,” Washington said about the contact. “I miss it, and I’ve been phening for it over the last, couple weeks since we got back. This is a great opportunity to come out here and help my teammates.”
Washington made a couple nice, stutter-step moves and showed some burst through the role. Carroll said he got about a dozen snaps during team drills. Washington said he felt great, so now the running back competition begins in earnest.
“We’ll see him continue to progress, and now he’ll enter the competition at the running back spot in a meaningful way,” Carroll said. “We’ve been very patient up until now. I’ve been waiting for him. We know he’s healthy and he’s back. But he needed to feel right about it. So we’ve given him the time until he made the call.”
Carroll also said he’s been impressed with the performance of Quinton Ganther, who continues to see time at fullback as well.
Along with the growing list of injured players, Carroll also is on the mend from recent knee surgery and has been seen limping around the practice field.
“I’m in a recovery mode here and I’m kind of upset about that,” he said. “I’ve never been so frustrated on the practice field because I can’t take off and run. I’m making everybody else run and here I am stumbling around, but I’ll be all right here in a day.”
As far as practice goes, Kam Chancellor, Joe Pawelek, Brandon Mebane, Kevin Vickerson, Lofa Tatupu, Louis Rankin, Lawrence Jackson and Aaron Curry remain on the sidelines, along with active PUP players Chester Pitts and Josh Pinkard.
Carroll said Curry, who suffered from headaches after a collision with Justin Forsett on Saturday, is expected back on Tuesday or Wednesday and should be ready to play in the first preseason game.
Vickerson is a day or so away from getting back on the field. Tatupu had a mild hamstring strain, and because he has had issues with his hamstring in the past the team is being cautious with him. Chancellor has a hip issue. And Lawrence Jackson also has a hamstring issue.
“He really hasn’t had much work,” Carroll said. “He really practiced the first day, first practice, and then he hasn’t practiced since then. As a matter of fact, I visited with him today, it’s been awhile, we need to get him out there and get some work done.”
* Marcus Trufant was the star of today’s practice. He had two interceptions; one on a play-action pass where Charlie Whitehurst rolled out and tried to hit Golden Tate on an out route. Trufant deflected the ball and brought it in before it hit the ground. Trufant also made a nice pick on a deep ball by Whitehurst to Kole Heckendorf.
* If not for the play of Trufant, Deion Branch would have gotten my vote for practice player of the day. He had several nice catches, included a touchdown on a fade route from Matt Hasselbeck.
* Leon Washington also threw a short touchdown on a halfback pass to John Carlson in the back of the end zone, showing his versatility.
* David Hawthrone blasted Owen Schmitt on a lead play to Justin Forsett, stopping him short of a first down.
* Hasselbeck ended practice by throwing a football into the crowd.
* Julius Jones was the back in with the first unit on short-yardage plays, and picked up the first down each time.