Russell Okung returned to the field on Sunday to help the Los Angeles Chargers earn a hard-fought victory, and his involvement was remarkable given what he was told by doctors just months ago.
Okung suffered a pulmonary embolism back in June, and he said after Sunday’s game that there was no guarantee he would ever play in the NFL again. On Monday morning, he revealed that he was told while in the hospital that his playing days were over.
I went from laying on a hospital bed and being told I would never play football again to returning on the field with my brothers against the Chicago Bears. Wow! pic.twitter.com/YjR3kbzLw3
— (@RussellOkung) October 28, 2019
Okung is fortunate to be alive given how serious the health scare was, so the fact that he missed less than half of the regular season is truly remarkable. The two-time Pro Bowler is a crucial part of the Chargers’ offense, and having him back could give the team the type of spark it needs after a disappointing start to the year.
The Los Angeles Chargers have been one of the most disappointing teams in football through the early part of the season, but they will soon be getting a player back who could help them turn some of their issues around.
On Thursday, veteran offensive tackle Russell Okung revealed that he has been cleared to play football after his frightening health scare during the offseason. He says he could be back on the field as soon as this weekend against the Tennessee Titans.
Oh happy day! pic.twitter.com/5j79ROagQu
— The Best Has Yet To Come! (@RussellOkung) October 17, 2019
As he mentioned, Okung suffered a pulmonary embolism back in June. He was forced to sit out all of training camp and the offseason and has not played since, but he is fortunate to be alive given how serious the issue was initially.
The Chargers are 2-4 and have been inconsistent at best on offense. They rank 22nd in the NFL with 20.0 points per game, but Melvin Gordon has returned from his holdout and should be getting back to full speed. Adding Okung — a two-time Pro Bowler — into the mix should only improve things further.
The Los Angeles Chargers announced this week that Russell Okung could miss all of training camp as he deals with a serious medical issue, and the veteran offensive lineman shared more details about the situation on Thursday.
In a statement he issued on Twitter, Okung revealed that he suffered a pulmonary embolism last month that was caused by blood clots. The issue was discovered after he went to urgent care because of chest pains, and he says doctors told him the decision may have saved his life.
Statement on Reported Injury Status pic.twitter.com/MjV52jqESL
— Russell Okung (@RussellOkung) July 25, 2019
Fortunately, Okung says he is now “feeling great physically.” He called the condition “very treatable” and said he has every intention of returning to play for the Chargers as soon as he gets clearance from doctors, though it is unclear when that might be.
Okung is entering the third season of a four-year deal with the Chargers. He has played in 15 regular season games each of the last two years and is set to make $13.4 million this season. Rookie Trey Pipkins worked at left tackle during minicamp and could get some more looks there while Okung is out.
The Los Angeles Chargers have a potentially serious issue on their hands with Russell Okung.
The offensive tackle missed all of minicamp due to an undisclosed injury. General manager Tom Telesco addressed the matter on Wednesday and said Okung could miss all of training camp.
Per Tom Telesco, Russell Okung started dealing with a "pretty serious medical issue" in early June. He's "doing better" and getting "great care." Could miss all of training camp. Okung will provide more details at tomorrow's opening practice #Chargers
— Daniel Popper (@danielrpopper) July 24, 2019
Okung has remained active on his social media channels despite the medical issue he is facing but has not disclosed any information. The 30-year-old left tackle is entering the third season of a four-year deal with the Chargers. He has played in 15 regular season games each of the last two years and is set to make $13.4 million this season.
Rookie Trey Pipkins worked at left tackle during minicamp and could get some more looks there while Okung is out. Brant Weiss is also listed on the Chargers’ depth chart at the position.
The Los Angeles Chargers may have won their Wild Card game on Sunday, but Russell Okung was a bit peeved about a call that transpired along the way.
With less than two minutes left in the contest and the Chargers up 23-17 over the Baltimore Ravens, running back Melvin Gordon picked up a game-sealing first down on a 3rd and 6 but had it negated by a holding penalty on Okung.
Here’s the holding penalty on Okung pic.twitter.com/CyrlgA6b9I
— Cameron DaSilva (@camdasilva) January 6, 2019
While it appeared to be an obvious hold on the two-time Pro Bowl left tackle, many on Twitter did not agree with the call:
This is one of the worst single-game officiating jobs I've ever seen. They should be embarrassed. And held accountable. Pathetic holding call.
— Nick Kostos (@TheKostos) January 6, 2019
That holding call was as bad as the touchdown they gave Houston.
— Eric Ebron (@Ebron85) January 6, 2019
Horrendous holding call.
— Adam Schein (@AdamSchein) January 6, 2019
The penalty ultimately did not matter in the grand scheme of things however, as the Chargers, though they were forced to punt on fourth down, clinched the victory a few plays later on an Uchenna Nwosu strip sack of Ravens QB Lamar Jackson. Nevertheless, Okung was still upset after the game and took a shot at commissioner Roger Goodell over the call, per Eric Williams of ESPN.
Chargers OT Russell Okung on the holding call late in the game on a running play team that would have sealed the game: “Roger Goodell doesn’t want us to come home.”
— Eric Williams (@eric_d_williams) January 6, 2019
The context here seems to be that the Chargers, who continue to struggle with attendance in their second season in LA despite going 12-4, have a semi-viable path to hosting the AFC title game. It can happen if the No. 5-seeded Bolts upset the No. 2-seeded New England Patriots next week and the No. 6-seeded Indianapolis Colts do the same with the top-seeded Kansas City Chiefs.
As for Okung, his wallet may be getting a little lighter after that remark, but it’s safe to say that he’s had something of a bone to pick with Goodell lately.
The Los Angeles Chargers pulled off their biggest win of the season on Thursday night in dramatic fashion, but erasing a 14-point deficit — on two separate occasions — was not enough to make them forget about what happened with Stephen A. Smith earlier in the day.
During an ESPN appearance on Thursday morning, Smith offered some of his takes on the big AFC West showdown between the Chargers and Kansas City Chiefs. To say he embarrassed himself would be an understatement, as it seemed like he knew absolutely nothing about the game.
In just this short clip Stephen A. Smith:
— Forgot Spencer Ware was out
— Called them San Diego Chargers
— Said he was looking forward to watching Hunter Henry, who hasn't played all year
— Said Henry was going up against Derrick Johnson, who is a free agent
— Broke Tedy Bruschi pic.twitter.com/wOaorAbBKY
— Jordan Heck (@JordanHeckFF) December 13, 2018
Not long after the Chargers defeated the Chiefs by scoring a touchdown with four seconds left and adding on a two-point conversion, offensive lineman Russell Okung took to Twitter to compliment Henry on a job well done. Henry was happy to play along.
You carried us!!! https://t.co/oQFBvbgatZ
— Russell Okung (@RussellOkung) December 14, 2018
Duh. All night
— Hunter Henry (@Hunter_Henry84) December 14, 2018
Henry, of course, has not played this season after he suffered a torn ACL in May. Smith tried to offer an explanation for why he brought Henry up during his analysis, but it was obvious he just wasn’t prepared to discuss the game. The Chargers aren’t letting him forget it.
NFL contracts are often a hot-button issue. People love to debate who’s making too much, too little, who deserves more, and who is overpaid. Some athletes outplay their deals, while others cash in and fail to deliver. Teams obviously try hard to avoid the latter situation, but sometimes things don’t work out as hoped.
With all of that in mind, here’s a look at the worst contract on every NFL team entering the 2018 season.
Arizona Cardinals – Jermaine Gresham, TE
After signing him to two consecutive one-year deals, the Cardinals suddenly decided to invest heavily in Jermaine Gresham, signing him to a four-year, $28 million deal with $16.5 million guaranteed. The $7 million annual salary far exceeds any contract Gresham had previously signed, which is curious considering he hasn’t exceeded 500 yards in a single season since 2012 with the Cincinnati Bengals. Add in that Greshman is now on the wrong side of 30, and it’s easy to understand how he made this list.
- Aaron Colvin, Albert Wilson, Andrew Luck, Avery Williamson, Charles Clay, Demario Davis, DeSean Jackson, Dion Sims, Donte Moncrief, Dwayne Allen, Eric Berry, Ezekiel Elliott, Jamie Collins, Jermaine Gresham, Joe Flacco, Jordan Reed, Jordy Nelson, Justin Britt, Kyle Rudolph, Logan Ryan, Matt Kalil, Menelik Watson, Ndamukong Suh, Randall Cobb, Rhett Ellison, Russell Okung, Tyrone Crawford, Vance McDonald, Vontaze Burfict