Russell Okung just posted his own, modern-day football equivalent of Patrick Henry’s colonial “Give me liberty or give me death.”
The free-agent left tackle with whom the Seahawks are negotiating without an agent in a unique attempt to retain used his Facebook account Friday to state his purpose, reasons and resolve in representing himself in negotiations and unrestricted free agency that begins March 9.
The entire Facebook post with a video is here.
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Seattle’s first-round draft choice in 2010 is recovering from surgery to repair the shoulder he dislocated during the team’s season-ending playoff loss at Carolina last month. He is set to become an unrestricted free agent in two weeks. Unlike his fellow free agents who have lawyers and agents negotiating intricate contract language, haggling over money and clauses, gauging the market and communicating with other teams, Okung is doing all that himself. He’s doing more than saving more than the 3-percent commission agents typically get on NFL contracts. As his posting Friday makes cleaer, he is taking a principled stand.
“Protect your liberty,” he writes for the intention of fellow players, “or lose it.”
The entire league -- all 32 teams and their players -- are watching. Closely.
Thursday at the NFL combine here, Seahawks coach Pete Carroll acknowledged as much. He described how tricky this situation is for the team and for Okung.
“It’s a challenge. No, it doesn’t change the dynamic, but it is a challenge,” Carroll said. “It poses a challenge for him to do a nice job with this process.
“It’s a very complicated process. He’s very close to us. We care a tremendous amount about him. We’re hoping it all works out right. Of course we’d love him back – just like our other guys.”