Seattle Seahawks: Russell Okung

RENTON, Wash. -- Here are a few observations on the defense from the first day of organized team activities (OTAs) this week for the Seattle Seahawks, along with some comments from coach Pete Carroll.

The media’s only access was Tuesday, but a few things stood out:

Whoa Mayowa: I think those 15 pounds guard James Carpenter lost were transferred over to defensive end Benson Mayowa, and that’s a good thing. Bigger and stronger (possibly 265 now) is just what was needed for Mayowa to step up and make an impact as a Seahawks pass-rusher.

He was really active in the Tuesday practice and looks up to the challenge he will face from rookies Cassius Marsh and Jackson Jeffcoat, along with Greg Scruggs, who is healthy again after missing last season with a torn ACL.

Scruggs gets praise from Carroll: Speaking of Scruggs, he had an interception on Tuesday and played with a lot of intensity.

“He’s really determined,” Carroll said. “He’s worked so hard through this offseason. He’s ready to go physically. It’s been a long haul for him. I feel really good about him being back out with us.

“It seems like he’s been a part from this for so long. I think he’s ready to max it out and he’s going to get a great chance to be a big part of it. Our expectation is he will be a factor right there in the rotation.”

Toomer the boomer: Linebacker Korey Toomer stood out in the rookie minicamp and kept it up on Tuesday in the first OTA. He had a stop in the backfield and another at the line of scrimmage on a run up the middle. Toomer was playing inside and outside, and looked good in both spots. After spending his first two years on injured reserve, it’s obvious why the Seahawks kept him around.

A battle at defensive tackle: Brandon Mebane has one defensive tackle spot locked down, but Carroll mentioned three players who are in the mix for the DT spot -- returning starter Tony McDaniel and 2013 rookies Jesse Williams (who missed last year with a knee injury) and Jordan Hill.

“I’m excited to get Tony re-signed and get him back here,” Carroll said. “He had a very good year for us in doing the stuff that we wanted him to do. I think he comes in here trying to own that 3-technique spot. That’s what he came here to do. I was really proud that he was able to accomplish that, but guys are nipping at his heels here.

“Jesse Williams will be back out in the next couple of days and working with Jordan Hill. Those guys are battling for that spot. It’s going to be really competitive and it’s going to take a long time to figure that out. There’s no rush. We’ll have to get into pads and through the preseason before we really know what’s going on with that.”

Injuries a small concern: Two of these three are on defense, so I’m listing them here as a group. Not having strong safety Kam Chancellor (hip surgery), right tackle Russell Okung (toe surgery) and outside linebacker Malcolm Smith (ankle surgery) on the field was noticeable to everyone.

All of them are expected back for training camp, but no one knows for sure until it gets here. All three men are key players for the Seahawks.
Seattle Seahawks general manager John Schneider had some interesting things to say in an informal conversation with team beat writers Wednesday. Here are a few points:

Michael Bowie is the next man up. The 2013 seventh-round draft choice, who started eight regular-season games because of injuries to starters on the line, will get a chance to earn the starting spot at right tackle to replace Breno Giacomini, who signed with the New York Jets as a free agent.

• Schneider said Terrelle Pryor is coming to Seattle to compete at quarterback.

"Right now, no other options have been discussed," Schneider said.

The key words there are "right now." The Seahawks sent Oakland a seventh-round pick to acquire Pryor, who is 6-5, 245 pounds and can run a 4.4-second 40.

"We felt he was a better athlete than what we could have gotten with a seventh-round pick," Schneider said, "so we felt it was worth it to bring him in."

• Schneider wouldn't say whether strong safety Kam Chancellor or left tackle Russell Okung had surgery since the Super Bowl. Schneider will leave those questions for coach Pete Carroll to answer.

"I don't think it's appropriate for me to comment on those things," Schneider said. "It will be addressed by Pete once the players starting practicing."

Chancellor reportedly had minor hip surgery and Okung may have had surgery on the ligament tear in his big toe that caused him to miss eight games last season.

• Schneider didn't know when or if receiver Doug Baldwin plans to sign his tender offer of $2.187 million as a restricted free agent. Baldwin has until Friday to receive offers from other teams, which is unlikely now.

But Schneider did say Baldwin is part of the Seahawks' long-term plans. Signing the tender does not stop Seattle from trying to work out a contract extension with Baldwin. But Baldwin also has the option of signing the one-year deal and testing the free-agent market after the 2014 season.

• Schneider said he expects Sidney Rice to be 100 percent healthy by the start of the 2014 regular season. Rice, who was released before re-signing with the Seahawks in a one-year deal worth $1.4 million, had ACL surgery last October. Rice says he'll be ready by training camp in late July.

Seattle Seahawks amazingly healthy

February, 10, 2014
SEATTLE -- Seattle Seahawks coach Pete Carroll is pleasantly surprised at how strong the team is, health wise, heading into the offseason.

“We came out of this season tremendously healthy,” he said. “This is by far the best health situation I’ve even been around. We ended at a really good level of conditioning.”

The one concern is left tackle Russell Okung, who missed eight games early in the season with a torn ligament in his big toe. Okung started the last nine games of the season, but he may need offseason surgery on his foot.

"His foot was sore the whole time, but he fought through it," Carroll said of Okung. "We'll have to see how it comes out when [doctors] evaluate it now.''

And cornerback Richard Sherman injured an ankle in the Super Bowl.

“He has a second-degree ankle sprain,” Carroll said. “But you saw him getting around pretty good [in the parade Thursday]. It’s going to take him a number of weeks, but he’ll be OK.”
JERSEY CITY, N.J. -- He is the X factor, the unknown addition who everyone knows.

Seattle Seahawks receiver Percy Harvin will play in Super Bowl XLVIII. If this was your company softball team playing for the league title, you’d be adding a ringer moments before the first pitch.

It is one of the most unusual situations ever, adding a Pro Bowl-caliber player who only played in six quarters all season, for the biggest event in sports.

[+] EnlargePercy Harvin
AP Photo/John FroschauerSeattle is excited to have Percy Harvin healthy and in the lineup for the Super Bowl.
In the view of some fans, Harvin was supposed to be the final piece to get the Seahawks to the Super Bowl. They accomplished that without him, but can he help them win it now that he’s back?

“It’s not about me,” Harvin said. “I’m just adding another playmaker. We already have three or four good receivers out there. I’m just adding to the mix.”

The mix now has a player who might be the fastest man in the NFL. Speed is a dangerous thing when you add in all the other skills Harvin possesses -- a precise route-runner, elusive ball carrier and explosive kick returner.

“His acceleration is unbelievable,” Seattle tight end Zach Miller said. “He’s a playmaker. Once he gets the ball in his hands, he is so explosive and so fast. He’s definitely a threat to score every time he touches the ball.”

Harvin has started almost every interview this week with this statement: “I’m just glad to be here.”

Obviously, but considering what he has endured this season, it’s a little like leaving a prison cell for a penthouse suite on Park Avenue.

He signed a six-year, $67 million deal with the Seahawks last March and was widely viewed as the offensive weapon that would propel the Seahawks to the next level. But Harvin had major hip surgery on Aug. 1 to repair a torn labrum.

He returned Nov. 17 for the game against his former Minnesota Vikings teammates, showing his talent with a 58-yard kickoff return and a spectacular one-handed catch on a third-down play that kept a scoring drive alive.

Maybe it was too much too soon. Harvin aggravated his hip injury, which became inflamed afterward. He missed the rest of the regular season. Seattle coach Pete Carroll was about to put Harvin on injured reserve before the playoffs started, but Harvin convinced Carroll he could play.

Harvin caught three passes in the New Orleans playoff game, but suffered a concussion at the end of the first half. He didn't make it through the mandatory concussion protocol in time to play in the NFC Championship Game against San Francisco.

“It’s been weird, frustrating, disappointing, all the above, man,” Harvin said. “I had a tough time, and it wore on me a little bit. But my teammates have been A-plus-plus. This whole organization has been top of the line.”

Harvin said one teammate helped him more than any other.

“A couple times I was really down," Harvin said. “But [cornerback] Richard Sherman, I don’t know how he even read me, but he came up and said, ‘Man, I kind of see you’re really down. You’ll get through this. We have your back.’ I’m so grateful for that.”

Now Harvin is back for the biggest game of his life. And he’s smiling, something he hasn't done much of this season. He was grinning from ear-to-ear at every media session. Something has changed beyond the obvious. Harvin is healthy, finally, and he knows he has a chance to show what he can do on the NFL's biggest stage.

“You can really see it in his eyes,” Seattle offensive tackle Russell Okung said. “You know that anytime Percy gets the ball, he’s looking to run by a guy and score. Anytime you have a guy like that, he’s hard to beat. He has a zeal for the game. I can’t wait to have him out there. It’s almost something magical.”
RENTON, Wash. – Seattle Seahawks receiver Percy Harvin will not practice this week, coach Pete Carroll said Monday afternoon. That virtually rules out any chance of Harvin playing in the season finale against St. Louis Sunday at CenturyLink Field.

Carroll also said Pro Bowl left tackle Russell Okung will be a game-time decision this weekend. Carroll is hopeful Okung will play.

Okung left Sunday's loss against Arizona in the fourth quarter because of soreness in his big toe, the same toe that caused Okung to miss eight games this season because of ligament damage. Rookie Alvin Bailey replaced Okung for a few plays before Okung returned to the game.

Right guard J.R. Sweezy is expected to return after missing the Arizona game because of a concussion.

Sweezy misses practice with concussion

December, 19, 2013
RENTON, Wash. -- Starting right guard J.R. Sweezy and cornerback Jeremy Lane were surprises on the injury report Thursday as two players who did not practice.

Lane is listed as having an ankle injury, but Sweezy is the bigger concern because of a concussion. It's not known when the concussion occurred since Sweezy was not on the injury list Wednesday and participated fully in practice.

Any player who doesn't practice Thursday because of a concussion causes doubts about whether he will play that weekend. If Sweezy can't play Sunday, it's likely Paul McQuistan would start at right guard.

McQuistan has been splitting time at left guard with James Carpenter, who started the last two games. McQuistan started the first 12 games this season, including four at left guard and eight at left tackle when Russell Okung was injured. Sweezy has started all 14 games at right guard.

Receiver Percy Harvin was the only other player who did not practice Thursday. Tight end Zach Miller (bruised ribs) and running back Robert Turbin (groin) were limited at practice.

Okung proud of his mom, the novelist

December, 5, 2013
RENTON, Wash. -- Russell Okung is a Pro Bowl tackle for the Seattle Seahawks, but the only thing he wanted to talk about Thursday was his mom, Dorothy Eno, the published author.

Okung’s mom, who lives in Houston, has written a novel titled “Only The Lonely Can Play.” The book depicts four women, in various stages of life, and the different levels of loneliness each experiences. Eno’s goal with the novel is to give a voice to women living in a state of isolation and loneliness.

“I’m so proud of her,” Okung said. “She’s been working on it for about a year. She just told me the book was on Amazon, so I went and bought like 30 of them. I want to support her any way I can. It’s great to know how she can set her mind to something and do it.”

Okung said he was skeptical at first about his mom’s idea to write the book.

“When she first told me about it, I didn’t believe her,” he said. “Then she told me to read the first chapter, and I was like, ‘Wow.’ I thought she might do something kind of frivolous, but she was really serious about it. She was determined and got it done.”

Eno’s novel was highlighted recently by Houston Style Magazine. She likely will receive additional attention for the book because her son is an accomplished NFL player.

“But it’s all about her,” Okung said. “It’s not about me. I couldn’t be more proud of her.”

Power Rankings: No. 2 Seattle Seahawks

November, 19, 2013
A weekly examination of the Seahawks' Power Ranking:

Preseason: 1 | Last Week: 3 | Power Ranking since 2002

Back-to-back convincing victories have enabled the Seahawks to move up each of the last two weeks in the Power Rankings, from fourth to third last week and third to second this week behind Denver.

Seattle is 10-1 heading to its bye week after winning the last two games by a combined score of 74-30, including the 41-20 victory over Minnesota on Sunday at CenturyLink Field.

The Seahawks are in the unusual situation of heading into the last five games of the season almost fully healthy. Offensive tackles Russell Okung and Breno Giacomini returned Sunday after being out for two months, and receiver Percy Harvin got everyone's attention in his debut game as a Seahawk with a 58-yard kickoff return that gave fans a glimpse of his explosiveness.

The only major injury for Seattle right now is starting cornerback Brandon Browner with a severe groin pull. However, it looks as if Browner might be able to return for the playoffs, or possibly even the end of the regular season.

And the secondary may be the deepest area of the team. Walter Thurmond, who started for Browner on Sunday, had a 29-yard pick-six in the second half.

Upon Further Review: Seahawks Week 11

November, 18, 2013
A review of four hot issues from the Seattle Seahawks' 41-20 victory against the Minnesota Vikings:

[+] EnlargePercy Harvin
AP Photo/John FroschauerSeattle is hoping that Percy Harvin will be able to produce during Saturday's playoff game.
Oh that offensive line: With all the starters back on the offensive line, the Seahawks looked like the offense that can make the big plays that matter. Russell Wilson was sacked only once (which he called a coverage sack) and wasn’t hit much. Returning tackles Russell Okung and Breno Giacomini did have a little rust after the long layoff. Okung was flagged for holding on what would have been a 58-yard gain for Seattle on a deep pass to Percy Harvin that was an interference call. And Giacomini was beaten by Minnesota defensive end Brian Robison on the one sack. But overall, it was a strong effort and showed how good the line can be with all its starters in the game.

Percy's tumor talk: Harvin shocked everyone after the game when he said he had a tumor removed last year. No one knew for sure what he was talking about at first or how serious it was. But the Seahawks' public relations staff later learned that doctors found a tumor (apparently benign) on his appendix when Harvin had an appendectomy in late November in Minnesota, three weeks after he went on injured reserve with an ankle injury. That little oddity aside, Harvin showed his stuff in his Seahawks debut with a 58-yard kickoff return and an athletic 17-yard catch on his finger tips that kept a Seattle TD drive alive in the second quarter.

Wilson stays perfect at home: Wilson just can do no wrong at CenturyLink Field. He now is 13-0 at home in his NFL career, and those 13 consecutive home wins are a franchise record. Wilson was 13-of-18 for 230 yards with two TDs and a 151.4 quarterback rating. Both TD throws were eye-catching. The first was 19 yards to Doug Baldwin when Wilson lofted it over two defenders in a place where Baldwin was the only person who could catch it in the back corner of the end zone. The other TD toss was an improvising move when Wilson was scrambling in the middle of the field and let go a shovel pass to Marshawn Lynch at just the right moment for a 6-yard score. Wilson’s 13 completions went to eight different receivers, including four catches for tight end Zach Miller.

Hauschka is a kicking clinic: Seattle kicker Steve Hauschka is having a remarkable season. He was 2-for-2 on field goals Sunday, including a 50-yarder, and has made 24 of 25 attempts this season. His only miss was a blocked attempt at Indianapolis, which wasn’t his fault. Come playoff time with a game on the line, Hauschka could be the difference for the Seahawks.

Okung activated, Daniels released

November, 16, 2013
RENTON, Wash. _ The Seahawks made a bit of a surprise move Saturday in releasing rookie quarterback B.J. Daniels so they could activate offensive tackle Russell Okung.

But that may be good news. Since the Seahawks didn’t put cornerback Brandon Browner on injured reserve, it could mean they think he has a chance to get back on the field this season.

Browner suffered groin injury in the Atlanta game that coach Pete Carroll called “severe” earlier this week. But the Seahawks didn’t say how long they thought Browner would be out. By not placing him on IR, it’s possible Browner could return in a few weeks or in the playoffs.

The Seahawks are high on Daniels and probably would like to add him to their practice squad, but that might not work out. San Francisco wanted to do that with Daniels before the Seahawks claimed him on Oct. 2.

Okung was placed on IR-designated to return after the second game of the season when he suffered a torn ligament in a big toe. The Pro Bowl left tackle is expected to start Sunday against the Minnesota Vikings.

Harvin leads list of returning Seahawks

November, 15, 2013
RENTON, Wash. -- Percy Harvin won’t be the only Seattle Seahawks player returning to the field Sunday after a long layoff.

Starting offensive tackles Russell Okung and Breno Giacomini also are expected to play against the Vikings. Giacomini hasn’t played since Week 3, and Okung has been out since the second game of the season.

The Seahawks will have to make a roster move Saturday to activate Okung off injured reserve. That move could include placing cornerback Brandon Browner on IR, which would end his season. Browner has a groin injury, which coach Pete Carroll called “severe” this week.

But most of the news this week for the Seahawks is good, starting with Harvin’s likely 2013 debut Sunday against his former teammates.

“I definitely think I’m ready to play,” Harvin said Friday after practice. “I still have a lot of work to do, but it was great to be out there with my teammates running plays and going to the huddle. Hopefully everything goes well [Saturday] and I can look forward to the game.”

Harvin officially is listed as probable, and coach Pete Carroll said they will see make a final decision before the game.

“He came through the week very well,” Carroll said. “He did everything we asked him to do.”

So how much will he play Sunday?

“You’ll just have to wait and find out," Carroll said.

Carroll also said Harvin was asking him if he could return kickoffs Sunday, but Carroll said early in the week he thought that was too much for his first game back. When asked about it again, Carroll smiled and said: “I’m standing by what I said.”

The Seahawks had 14 players listed as probable on Friday’s injury report, including defensive linemen Red Bryant and center Max Unger. They both missed the Atlanta game with concussions, but both players practiced all week and Carroll said they are ready to go.

Defensive tackle Tony McDaniel is listed as questionable with a hamstring injury. Carroll called McDaniel a game-time decision.

Back-up cornerback Jeremy Lane, who did not practice Thursday because on a thigh injury, is listed as probable, and Carroll said Lane is fine. Lane’s availability is a big deal for two reasons.

The Seahawks need the depth at cornerback with Browner out (Walter Thurmond will start for Browner), and Lane is one of the best in the league as a gunner on punt coverage. Minnesota’s Marcus Sherels leads the NFL with a 16.3-yard average on punt returns.
RENTON, Wash. – Seattle Seahawks receiver Percy Harvin was a full participant in practice Thursday for the first time since his hip surgery in August, increasing the likelihood that he will play Sunday against his former team, the Minnesota Vikings.

Harvin did not speak to reporters Thursday, but he is expected to talk Friday. If he plays Sunday, it would be his first appearance in an NFL game since Nov. 4, 2012, when, coincidentally, the Vikings played at Seattle.

Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson said he doesn’t anticipate much of an adjustment period once Harvin joins the offense.

“I feel so comfortable with Percy,” Wilson said Thursday. “I threw a ton with him this offseason before the injury really popped up, so it was one of those things where we had a really good relationship before. I trust what he does.”

Wilson believes Harvin can make an immediate difference for the Seahawks.

"He’s in and out of his breaks really quickly,” Wilson said. “He’s just a great football player. You want to give him the ball as much as you can. On our offense, we have so many guys that we can use. You add Percy into the mix and he brings a whole other explosive mentality to our football team.”

Cornerback Richard Sherman returned to full participation Thursday after missing practice Wednesday with what was listed as a hip injury. Sherman said he really just needed a day to rest.

Offensive tackles Russell Okung and Breno Giacomini and center Max Unger also were full participants in practice, as was defensive tackle Red Bryant. Unger and Bryant missed last week's game with concussions. The Seahawks will need to make a roster move by Saturday to activate Okung.

Defensive tackle Tony McDaniel (hamstring) and cornerback Jeremy Lane (thigh) did not practice. Cornerback Brandon Browner has a groin injury and will not play Sunday, but the Seahawks have not said how long Browner will be out.

Late bye week works for Seattle

November, 8, 2013
RENTON, Wash. -- Is better to have your bye week early in the season or late, as is the case for the Seahawks?

The Seattle Seahawks have two games to go, Sunday at Atlanta and next weekend at home against Minnesota, before a 15-day break after 11th game of the season.

“The late bye is something that can be super beneficial," said Seattle cornerback Richard Sherman. “It’s a long season. If you get the early bye, you have no light at the end of the tunnel for your body to rest.

“So I think it works as the light at the end of the tunnel for a lot of players. It gives them the chance to rest. Getting to Week 12 is a lot of weeks on your body, so I think it’s going to come right on time.”

It also comes at a time when the Seahawks will have some key players returning, including both of the starting offensive tackles. Pro Bowl left tackle Russell Okung and right tackle Breno Giacomini both might play against Minnesota next weekend.

If they do, they have another two-week break before the big Monday game against New Orleans at CenturyLink Field. That also could be the game receiver Percy Harvin finally gets on the field, if not the Minnesota game before the break.

So the Seahawks couldn't ask for a better scenario headed into the important matchup with the Saints, having two weeks to prepare for a game that could decide home-field advantage in the NFC.

Harvin has an MRI that shows he's OK

November, 1, 2013
RENTON, Wash. -- Just to be safe, the Seahawks decided to have receiver Percy Harvin get another MRI this week on his surgically-repaired hip.

"We did another MRI to make sure we were seeing everything right," Seattle coach Pete Carroll said Friday. "There were no complications."

Harvin, who had hip surgery Aug. 1 to repair a torn labrum, did not practice this week after doing so for the first time last week. Keeping him off the field this week was only a precautionary measure by the Seahawks, who continue to be conservative about his return.

"We've been quiet with him," Carroll said. "We just wanted to make sure we don't waste our opportunity with him on the practice field."

Carroll means they don't think it's productive for Harvin to practice every day if he's not going to play in the upcoming game. The Seahawks have until Nov. 12 to take Harvin off the physically unable to perform list and add him to the 53-man roster.

However, it doesn't mean Harvin will play immediately once he's added.

"If he was banged up, we certainly wouldn't mind keeping him on the team as one of the inactives," Carroll said. "If that's what it winds up a few weeks from now, that's what it is. But we're hoping to get him back. He was fine last week, but the wear and tear of the comeback got to him a little bit, so we're just slowing it down."

Running back Marshawn Lynch practiced Friday for the first time this week. Carroll said Lynch will start Sunday against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers

"He's fine," Carroll said of Lynch. "He feels good. His knee was a little sore, but he was raring to go [Friday], so he's ready for the game."

Lynch showed frustration at times Monday night at not getting enough carries. He had only eight for 23 yards in the 14-9 victory at St. Louis.

"He's going to get more involved than he did last week, let's just say that," Carroll said Friday. "We have to play better so he gets his opportunities. We only had 40 [offensive] plays in that game."

Free safety Earl Thomas was not at practice because of an illness, but he also will start Sunday.

"Earl showed up sick [Friday] morning, so we sent him back home," Carroll said. "But Earl's fine. He just wasn't feeling well and had a tough night, so we wanted to make sure he'll be rested for Sunday."

Pro Bowl offensive tackle Russell Okung, who is on injured reserve with a torn ligament in a big toe, could have begun practicing again Friday, but Carroll said that will happen next week.

"We're talking about him being on the field Wednesday," Carroll said of Okung. "He might work out at the stadium on Sunday. We're real encouraged with his rehab. He's shown every day that he can handle it."

Carroll said he also expects starting right tackle Breno Giacomini to begin practicing next Wednesday. Giacomini, who had arthroscopic knee surgery Sept. 30, stayed on the active roster and can return at any time. Okung cannot return until the Nov. 17 home game against the Minnesota Vikings.
RENTON, Wash. -- Seattle Seahawks coach Pete Carroll said Pro Bowl left tackle Russell Okung can return to practice Friday.

Okung is on injured reserve and isn't eligible to play until the Nov. 17 home game against Minnesota, but his recovery from a torn ligament in a big toe is going well.

Offensive tackle Breno Giacomini, who had arthroscopic knee surgery Sept. 30, is also getting closer to returning and might be back in two weeks.

Carroll also said receiver Percy Harvin did not practice and his return remains day to day. The Seahawks have two more weeks to activate Harvin off the physically unable to perform list, but his return this weekend appears unlikely since the Seahawks activated receiver Ricardo Lockette off the practice squad Wednesday.

Running back Marshawn Lynch, guard J.R. Sweezy and defensive end Michael Bennett did not practice Wednesday, but it was a short workout because of the game Monday night. Lynch was listed on the injury report as having a knee injury, and Sweezy was listed with an elbow injury. Bennett missed practice because of an illness. All three players finished the game Monday at St. Louis.

Fullback Derrick Coleman and safety Jeron Johnson, who are both suffering from hamstring injuries, did not practice Wednesday. Neither played at St. Louis.