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Saturday, April 5, 2014
Best player No. 10 for the Seahawks

By Terry Blount

In the continuing countdown of the top 12 players for the Seahawks entering the 2014 season, the next man on the list missed half the regular season last year. But Seattle probably wouldn't have won the Super Bowl without his quality play when he returned.

No. 10: Offensive tackle Russell Okung -- Last year wasn't the Pro-Bowl season most people were expecting for Okung, but an injury hindered him and he missed eight games. He suffered a torn ligament in a big toe and wasn't 100 percent healthy when he returned on Nov. 17.

But he did help stabilize an offensive line that struggled mightily at times in his absence. Paul McQuistan moved from guard to Okung's left tackle and McQuistan gave it his all, but it was clear the Seahawks were in trouble without Okung to protect Russell Wilson's blind side.

Okung's absence, along with injuries to center Max Unger and right tackle Breno Giacomini, meant the Seahawks had to weather the storm and Wilson had to run for safety and hope to stay healthy while often under siege.

Things improved dramatically up front when Okung returned. What most people don't know is Okung toughed it out while his foot remained painful. It wasn't the Pro-Bowl level that he achieved in 2012, but it was a solid effort that kept the Seahawks moving forward in a championship season.

Contract status: Okung will be the second highest paid player on the team in 2014, a cap hit of $11.2 million. Only Percy Harvin's cap number is higher at $13.4 million. Okung is signed through the 2015 season.