NFL

Seattle's Okung runs with bulls in Pamplona

Share This Story

   
 

RENTON, Wash. (AP)

Russell Okung had about a month break between the end of the Seattle Seahawks' minicamp in June and the start of training camp.

It was the perfect opportunity for the Pro Bowl left tackle to take a little trip and do a little running - with the bulls in Pamplona, Spain.

''Well I like hearing that he made it,'' Seattle coach Pete Carroll said. ''I did ask him, `Did you really run with bulls? Did you run alongside of them?' I think he might have been running alongside the last bull though. But he did make it so ... yeah I was happy to hear that he survived it.''

Taking part in one of the world's most famous festivals - especially ones involving charging bulls - just weeks before the start of training camp is probably not what the Seahawks wanted to see out of their franchise left tackle. But the 25-year-old isn't interested in sitting back and missing out unique experiences.

''I think it's extremely important. We're young guys and we have this whole life ahead of us to really enjoy the experiences that life has to offer, so why not?'' Okung said. ''You get the opportunity you're afforded to even go out there and so it's pretty good, you should.''

Going to Spain was always an interest of Okung's, but the idea of Pamplona and participating in the nine-day San Fermin festival didn't start until a few months ago when he began researching the country. All it took was stumbling upon one picture of a participant in the festival getting gored by a bull for Okung to be convinced that was where he needed to go.

''I was looking at stuff that I wanted to do and all of a sudden I see a guy getting gored by a bull and I was like, `Yeah, that's what I want to do,''' he said.

With the help of his agent, Peter Schaeffer, Okung made the trip in early July to the northern part of Spain. While the picture of a runner getting gored was the impetus for going to Pamplona, Okung made sure not to watch video of the event prior to getting there.

''I didn't want to talk myself out of it. I just went out there and did it,'' he said.

Okung was probably correct in not researching too much into the famous festival. The festival dates back to the late 16th century and also is known for its all-night street parties. The runs, eight in all, are the highlight of a nine-day street festival to honor Pamplona's patron saint, San Fermin. Each morning, six fighting bulls and six bell-tinkling steers that try to keep the beasts together head from stables to the bullring where matadors star in late afternoon bullfights.

Dozens of people are injured each year, with gorings often producing the most dramatic injuries. The last fatal goring happened in 2009. On the final day of this year's festival, 23 runners were injured.

''All I know is you have a plan and it goes straight out the window,'' Okung said.

And his bosses weren't very happy with his decision.

''It didn't go too well. It didn't go too well,'' he said. ''But the thing they knew about me is they knew I would be safe and as much as I could do the right thing.''

Okung, the Seahawks' first round pick in 2010, has been getting plenty of grief from his teammates, but also a bit of envy for getting to take part in such a unique experience.

''You've got to get out,'' Seattle center Max Unger said. ''We're pretty lucky if not the luckiest in professional sports to have a big chunk of time off and that's what it's for to take time off and get away from football for a little bit because when we do it it's full speed for a long time.''

Tagged: Seahawks, Russell Okung

Related Stories

Member Comments

Please note by clicking on "Post comment" you acknowledge that you have read the Terms of Use and the comment you are posting is in compliance with such terms. Be Polite. Inappropriate posts may be removed by the moderator.

powered by


NFL Videos

Best Person in Sports: Keenan Lewis Posted: Jul 15, 2014
Saints CB Keenan Lewis hosts a back-to-school event, giving children medical ser...

NFL Roundtable: New York Jets Posted: Jul 14, 2014
They're a team with plenty to prove and a roster of players primed to get it don...

NFL Roundtable: Detroit Lions Posted: Jul 11, 2014
A team with so many weapons, is this the season that the Lions put together and ...

More Than Sports on MSN