What do you get a man blessed with talent, wealth, a Super Bowl ring and a Pro Bowl on his résumé?
Apparently, you buy him dessert.
Seahawks left tackle Russell Okung doesn't want or need much on his 27th birthday, but what he could go for right now is an Oreo Pizookie from BJ's Restaurant. Seriously, that simply request would make the big man happy on his birthday, so somebody see if BJ's delivers.
Okung's teammates may or may not have time to make a trip to Southcenter to pick up dessert for the birthday boy, but what they do have is praise for the man who has become the leader of Seattle's offensive line. With Max Unger having been traded to New Orleans, Okung is now the elder statesman on Seattle's line, both in terms of experience and age.
"He's our leader for sure," said guard J.R. Sweezy. "We listen to him, he's been through it all, the ups and downs, and we really look up to him. He inspires us a lot, and he's a great player to have as a teammate."
Okung has been especially helpful for Garry Gilliam, who took over the starting job at right tackle this year not long after switching from tight end to tackle as a senior at Penn State.
"For me being very new to offensive line, I've learned a lot from him and I continuously learn from him, whether it's technique or looks or trying to identify stuff, he helps me a bunch," Gilliam said. "I've always watched him since I got here to try to think of the caliber of player I'd like to be."
Okung, now in his sixth season as Seattle's starting left tackle, was the first player drafted under Pete Carroll and John Schneider, and went on to become a key player on some of the best teams in Seahawks history, including the Super Bowl XLVIII-winning team. While the Seahawks have generally been unpredictable in the draft, Okung was a clear fit for a team looking to replace Hall of Fame left tackle Walter Jones, and Schneider has since admitted that his team was pretty set on taking a tackle with the No. 6 pick, and was thrilled when Okung was still available.
Since then Okung has started 63 regular season games, protected the blindside of multiple quarterbacks and helped pave the way for a rushing attack that set a franchise record with 2,762 yards last season. So happy birthday, Russell Okung, hopefully it comes with dessert. You've earned it.
Happy birthday to our most veteran offensive lineman, Russell Okung!