Pending free agent Russell Okung calls shoulder surgery precautionary

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Seattle Seahawks left tackle Russell Okung is downplaying his shoulder surgery as he heads into free agency, describing the procedure as precautionary while on 710 ESPN Seattle radio on Thursday.

"I've been pretty optimistic about what's going on. It was something I didn't have to do but decided to do it just to mitigate any risks moving forward," Okung said. "So I've got a four-month recovery time and I can't wait to get back to being at full strength."

Okung emailed all 32 teams in January to let them know he was undergoing a procedure to correct a dislocated left shoulder. The injury occurred in the Seahawks' divisional-round loss to the Carolina Panthers.

The former sixth overall pick is representing himself in contract negotiations, something he wrote passionately about in an essay on The Players' Tribune last season. But Okung says he's not trying to start a trend by doing his own legwork in free agency.

"Well, not necessarily starting a trend. This isn't meant to just be popular. It's meant to show people that they do have options, that the traditional route isn't necessarily always the right route," Okung said. "And if you're smart enough, you can do it. I think about a lot of the rookies coming in that will be drafted. I mean, what leverage can an agent really offer you? I have my own reasoning. Whether people agree on it or not, it's not really my issue, but it's something I'm excited to do. So I'm doing it and hopefully it serves as an example of what guys can do moving forward."