Seahawks’ Russell Okung describes shoulder surgery as precautionary, isn’t nervous about free agency

Feb 19, 2016, 11:11 AM | Updated: 11:30 am
Russell Okung underwent shoulder surgery after suffering a dislocation in the playoffs against Caro...
Russell Okung underwent shoulder surgery after suffering a dislocation in the playoffs against Carolina. (AP)
(AP)
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Seven starters and 17 Seahawks in all are set to become unrestricted free agents. None of them face more uncertainty heading into free agency than left tackle Russell Okung, who is coming off shoulder surgery and is representing himself after firing his agent last year.

Okung talked about his recovery, free agency and more when he joined “Danny, Dave and Moore” on 710 ESPN Seattle Thursday.

Related: John Clayton on potential free-agent targets for Seahawks

Okung described it as a precautionary move to have surgery on his left shoulder, which he dislocated during Seattle’s divisional-round game against Carolina. That surgery took place at some point in the last three weeks.

“I’ve been pretty optimistic about what’s going on. It was something I didn’t have to do but decided to do it just to mitigate any risks moving forward,” he said. “So I’ve got a four-month recovery time and I can’t wait to get back to being at full strength.”

The injury and surgery further complicated Okung’s situation in free agency as he serves as his own agent, which he’s been preparing to do for a while. Okung said he’s “not nervous about it at all” and that he’s “well-studied” on the process. He said he’s consulted with – among other people – former players who have represented themselves.

And he noted how left tackle is one of the premier positions in the NFL.

“I think the value speaks for itself,” he said. “I think there’s a necessity in my position league-wide and we’ll just have to see where it goes. Really excited about the opportunity, though.”

By representing himself, Okung will save what he would have had to pay an agent. Of course, the flip side to that is that he may not be able to secure as lucrative of a deal without one. The maximum rate an agent can charge is 3 percent of the player’s earnings. While announcing his intention to represent himself, Okung wrote last summer in The Players’ Tribune that he and his agent had agreed on 2.5 percent when he was a rookie.

Okung was asked if his decision to represent himself was about not having to pay an agent and/or trying to start a trend.

“Well, not necessarily starting a trend. This isn’t meant to just be popular. It’s meant to show people that they do have options, that the traditional route isn’t necessarily always the right route,” he said. “And if you’re smart enough, you can do it. I think about a lot of the rookies coming in that will be drafted. I mean, what leverage can an agent really offer you? I have my own reasoning. Whether people agree on it or not, it’s not really my issue, but it’s something I’m excited to do. So I’m doing it and hopefully it serves as an example of what guys can do moving forward.”

During the interview, Okung also talked about the upcoming launch of his charity, the GREATER Foundation.

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