Russell Okung and his fiancé Samar are celebrating their engagement Friday night in Houston.
First, he had some business to attend to.
The Chargers’ new left tackle flew into California to put pen to paper on a four-year contract, cementing his place as the cornerstone of the team’s offensive line.
Okung had a number of suitors, but knew in his heart the Bolts were the right fit. Among a litany of factors, the presence of a young, up-and-coming Melvin Gordon weighed heavily on his decision.
After all, Gordon reminds him of another running back he blocked for during his time with the Seattle Seahawks.
“He reminds me a lot of Marshawn (Lynch),” Okung said. “His running style, ability to fight for extra yardage and fall forward. I knew I have to be around runners like that. He is what I am used to. You obviously want to be part of a team that is physical, runs the ball and is efficient at the quarterback position. That is what the Chargers are. And Melvin, his tenacity as a ball carrier reminds me of a young Marshawn. His willingness to fight for everything he has is definitely similar.”
Beyond seeing a younger Beast Mode in the backfield, Okung mentioned Philip Rivers as another motivating factor.
“Obviously you hear tons about Philip, and you see what type of ability he has. I know what kind of player he is. However I can come in and support whatever he is trying to do, I will do it. I just want to establish us as a great group on the offensive line. I’ll be honored to do that. Playing against them (last year), this is an extremely talented team. They have a great group of core guys here, and I think it’s a team that’s really close. I like what (Head Coach Anthony) Lynn is doing, how he speaks and what he’s asking of his players. I knew this was something I wanted to be a part of.”
After facing the Chargers defense twice last season while with the Denver Broncos, he also knows firsthand how dangerous the team is on the other side of the ball. Like most, he believes reigning NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year Joey Bosa is primed to take the Bolts to another level.
“Bosa is a young guy who has a great future. He is very professional, and you can tell he really respects the game. Just how he goes about it and has progressed and gotten better. I’m really looking forward to watching him grow.”
From Pro Bowls to Super Bowls, Okung has had a profound impact over seven years after being selected sixth overall in the 2010 NFL Draft. However, he knows the Chargers are counting on him for more beyond his contributions on the playing field.
“I am really professional about my work. I am a guy who works hard, is tenacious, really gets after it, and hopefully that rubs off on the guys. We’re all competing to find our best. I believe I have been given a God given ability to do what I love to do, and hopefully I can lead by example.”
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