Russell Okung continues holdout

Updated: August 3, 2010, 8:54 PM ET
Associated Press

RENTON, Wash. -- Russell Okung can find empathy in fellow first-round pick Aaron Curry, who is one year older.

As for one of the most influential Seahawks, 34-year-old Matt Hasselbeck? Okung will get as much empathy from the veteran quarterback as the rookie left tackle has completed training camp practices.

None.

"I mean, especially for me as a sixth-round pick, that's not my world," Hasselbeck said after Okung stayed away through Tuesday's practice. "Probably some of the guys who were first-round picks could put themselves [there or] empathize more. I don't know. I'm not there. That's not me."

Hasselbeck was not invited to the NFL combine out of Boston College in 1998 before Green Bay drafted him in the sixth round to back up Brett Favre. He has gone on to make three Pro Bowls and a Super Bowl.

He has plenty to gain by Okung signing -- namely his health, protection of his blind side and a replacement for retired All-Pro left tackle Walter Jones as the anchor of the offensive line.

"I felt like I should have been paying them to let me be there, I was so excited," he said of the '98 Packers, who had coach Mike Holmgren commanding Favre and Hasselbeck.

"I'm obviously very biased against first-round draft picks," he deadpanned. "Always have been. Jealousy."

Joking aside, new Seahawks coach Pete Carroll cannot understand why Okung hasn't already signed what Carroll has called a strong offer, especially given that the No. 5 and No. 7 picks have signed.

Okung is one of two unsigned first rounders, now that Detroit and No. 2 pick Ndamukong Suh have reportedly agreed to terms.

Eric Berry got $34 million guaranteed from Kansas City as the fifth pick. Seventh overall choice Joe Haden received $26 million guaranteed from Cleveland. So there is a natural money slot for Okung to fit into.

Berry is a safety. It's possible Okung's representatives are valuing the left tackle more than a safety, and thus are arguing the heir to Jones should be guaranteed more money than Berry. And it's conceivable the Seahawks are balking at going above the rookie market's established cash slot for the sixth pick.

Agent Peter Schaffer, who represents Okung, has said he won't comment because he won't negotiate through the media. Last week, he told The Associated Press that he was doing everything he could to get Okung in on time.

Carroll, who also has executive vice president powers in personnel with the Seahawks, has said of Okung's agents: "It's pretty clear how this should work: They have to pick up the phone."

The coach says missing the first days of camp is working "immeasurably against" the rookie.

Curry, who remained out Tuesday with a concussion but could return to practice on Thursday, missed the first eight days of 2009's camp because of an impasse in his contract negotiations. The fourth-overall pick eventually signed for $34 million guaranteed.

He doesn't begrudge Okung, or fellow first-round pick Earl Thomas. Thomas arrived Sunday, one day late, after signing a deal guaranteeing him $12.32 million.

"I would tell them to be patient and understand there's a business part of the game," the 24-year-old Curry said last weekend. "And that what they're doing is their right as a player. They have to protect themselves, and they deserve every dollar they get, and that's what it's about. When it comes to the business part of the game it's all numbers. And when it comes to numbers you have to protect yourself because you never know when you're last play is."

Okung won't be practicing Wednesday, either. The Seahawks have the day off.


Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press