Brandon Mebane, Russell Okung get a homecoming of sorts

COSTA MESA, Calif. -- Brandon Mebane shrugged his shoulders and sighed when asked about facing his former team, the Seattle Seahawks, for the first time as a pro on Sunday.

"I haven't been up there since I left," Mebane said. "It will be nice to see the stadium once again. I had a lot of good memories up there -- good, bad and in the middle.

"Obviously, it's different. But football is the circle of life. It's like the Lion King, you know what I mean? One king falls and the next one is crowned. It's a revolving door."

Selected in the third round of the 2007 draft by the Seahawks out of Cal, the 33-year-old Mebane played nine seasons in Seattle before departing to the Los Angeles Chargers in free agency three years ago.

His former teammate in Seattle, left tackle Russell Okung joined the Chargers two years ago in free agency. Mebane serves as a co-captain on defense and Okung a co-captain on offense, helping to fill a leadership void with their championship experience.

"Those guys were right in the middle of all of it," Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll said about the two. "They were consistent, high performers, and good personalities on the team. Everybody loved Brandon. He was a really unique player and all that. He was here before we got here, so he was kind of one of the old guys that represented the change, and he really took to our style.

"Russell was always an upbeat and active guy, a good communicator. They were great Seahawks when they were here."

Only five players remain on the current roster in Seattle from the Seahawks team that won the Super Bowl after the 2013 season. At the time, Mebane had been the longest-tenured player on the roster.

"It was magical," Mebane said about his time in Seattle. "It was a blessing to be a part of all of that stuff, the memories and relationships we created with everybody -- it's something you tell your kids about some days -- when the games come on and I'm 65 years old, just sitting there watching TV."

Okung, 30, said he doesn't know how he's going to feel competing at CenturyLink Field for the first time as a member of the opposing team.

"I'm excited," Okung said. "I know playing in that sort environment, I know how loud it can get, and how the fans can be. It's going to be interesting having them not cheer for me, but against me."

Joining Mebane and Okung in the return to Seattle is Gus Bradley, who served as the defensive coordinator for the Seahawks for four seasons.

Bradley credited Carroll for his growth as a coach.

"He's had tremendous impact on me as a coach," Bradley said. "I think he's very analytical as far as studying tape, watching tape and trying to see how to affect different offenses -- and his attitude and the way he works day after day, his energy level.

"When you're with him for four years, like I was, and you saw it day after day, it's pretty impressive. They've lost a lot of guys since I've been there. I don't know many of the guys on the roster anymore, but the style of play is very similar. They a lot of energy."

Mebane also will be playing with a heavy heart. His wife Amena and two kids -- 4-year-old Mahailey and 2-year-old Makai -- are in Omaha, Nebraska, receiving medical assistance with the birth of his third child, Makenna, who has a defective heart condition.

The couple's daughter has been diagnosed with a heart condition, and Mebane's wife is in Omaha, where specialists can treat their child's specific condition.

"It's just having that feeling of playing for her," Mebane said. "My wife has been in and out of the hospital with checkups and stuff like that. So just playing for her, my kids and my family has given me motivation and been a boost."