A few savvy Seahawks fans were quick to note that the pictures of Seattle left tackle Russell Okung at Oklahoma State’s open practice today (like this one) showed Okung’s left foot in a boot (Oklahoma State is Okung’s alma mater).
And that leads to the easy conclusion that Okung may have just had another surgery on his left big toe to further repair the injury that held him out of eight games last season and then hampered him even when he did come back.
There is no official word from the team on whether Okung had surgery but Seahawks coach Pete Carroll said recently that it was a consideration, though Okung was also hoping the toe might heal without having another surgery.
Shortly after the season, Carroll said this when asked if Okung might need another surgery: “We’re talking about what’s necessary. So we’ll see. He’s had a sore toe this whole time and he played through and did a great job to contribute under those circumstances.”
A couple of weeks later, at the NFL Combine in late February, Carroll said Okung had not had surgery: “No. At this point he has not. At this point looks like they are not going to. But that’s not done yet. Still some work being done there.’’
Okung is obviously a vital piece of Seattle’s future as a potentially bedrock left tackle for years to come, having started the Pro Bowl in 2012 before battling through an injury-plagued 2013 — Okung suffered the toe injury in the second game of the season against the 49ers.
So getting him healthy is just-as-obviously pretty key to Seattle’s hopes of repeating as Super Bowl champs in 2014, especially with the Seahawks having lost a couple of experienced OLs to free agency in starting RT Breno Giacomini and G/T Paul McQuistan, who started all eight games at LT that Okung missed last season, as well as playing most of the final three quarters there against the 49ers when Okung was initially injured.
Okung is also among the players those contracts the team could think about extending or restructuring prior to the 2014 season.
The Seahawks will begin their official off-season training program April 21. The first time veteran players will hit the field in any formal capacity is when Organized Training Activities begin on May 27.
ALSO TODAY. …
— Times columnist Larry Stone looks at what Carroll’s new three-year contract means for the Seahawks, writing in part:
Carroll recognizes that the next great challenge is to stave off complacency. He said the Seahawks are “right in the middle of something really special here,’’ implying that the ending has not come yet.
In fact, when the goal is, as he put it, “to do things in every aspect, every phase and corner of our program, better than it’s ever been done before,” the very concept of an end is immaterial, in Carroll’s mind.
“There’s nothing to gauge that to, nothing to compare it to, which is how I like it,’’ he said. “There’s not going to be a time where we’re ever going to know if we did that.”
Maybe that sounds a little corny, a little too new age. But now, and for the foreseeable future, that’s the Seahawks way. The Pete Carroll way. And it’s working. Just check the scoreboard.
— And finally, ESPN’s Jeffri Chadiha wonders if Seattle QB Russell Wilson is on the same career path as New England’s Tom Brady, writing in part:
There are already too many eerie similarities between Wilson and Tom Brady to think Wilson isn’t embarking on a career that could one day compare favorably with that of the New England Patriots legend. Both quarterbacks were largely overlooked coming out of college (with Wilson falling into the third round of the 2012 draft and Brady famously lasting until the sixth round of the 2000 draft). They also won their first Super Bowl in their second seasons, as Wilson just led Seattle to a victory over the Denver Broncos in Super Bowl XLVIII. Wilson also has a strong defense and running game around him, which were the very assets that helped Brady blossom in his early years.