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Get to know new left tackle Russell Okung


Two weeks after reports surfaced in early March that left tackle Russell Okung would be headed to Carolina, the trade was made official Wednesday.

Before Okung gets to work in Carolina, get to know the new Panthers offensive left tackle.

Overcoming adversity

For a large part of the 2019 season, Okung found himself sidelined from the game he loved. But it wasn't a knee injury or a broken bone keeping him from suiting up. In July, Okung suffered a pulmonary embolism due to blood clots in his lungs and left leg.

The life-threatening ailment forced Okung to miss all of training camp and the first six games of the season, before returning to practice in Week 7 and stepping back into his starting role in Week 8.

Commit to the Bit(coin)

Last year, Okung became one of the first NFL players to request to be paid in Bitcoin, a form of digital cryptocurrency. Ultimately, Okung's request wasn't granted, but he has positioned himself at the forefront of the movement among professional athletes.

While the league may not be paying him digitally, Okung has remained committed to Bitcoin. The left tackle often tweets about the cryptocurrency and even positioned the Bitcoin logo on his locker with the Chargers so it would be visible during his postgame and practice interviews.

An LA reunion

When Okung gets started in Carolina, he'll find a familiar voice coaching him from the sidelines. Okung's trade reunites him with his former offensive line coach, Pat Meyer. The duo worked together for three years in Los Angeles, a stretch that saw Okung reach his second career Pro Bowl in 2017. Meyer joined head coach Matt Rhule's staff in January.

Okung previously played for Chargers (2017-19), Broncos (2016) and Seahawks (2010-15).