BELLEVUE, Wash. -- Not long after Russell Okung signed his contract with the Denver Broncos, he happened to be visiting Los Angeles where Seattle Seahawks offensive lineman Garry Gilliam was training this offseason.
The pair had dinner together in a meeting that might have served as an unofficial passing of the torch.
Gilliam spoke to reporters Thursday at an event for Ben's Fund, which was founded by John Schneider and his wife Traci and provides grants to families who have children on the autism spectrum. He was asked what advice Okung gave him at the dinner.
"Just have full confidence and know that I have the ability to hold that spot down," he said.
Okung was the first draft pick of the Pete Carroll/Schneider era and the Seahawks' starting left tackle for the past six years. But after he decided he was going to Denver, Gilliam got a call from Seahawks offensive line coach Tom Cable.
"I actually spoke to Coach Cable while I was down in California on the phone, and when I got back up here, I talked to Coach Carroll," Gilliam said. "He spoke to me about the opportunity and the opening there and if I was going to seize it or not. And I said, ‘Yeah, of course I’d want to do something like that.’ He said he always saw me as a left tackle."
Gilliam said he weighs 305 pounds right now and would like to play at 312 when next season starts. When last season ended, Gilliam weighed 318 pounds, but he said he felt slow.
On the current roster, the only real competition Gilliam faces for the left tackle spot is Bradley Sowell, who hasn't started a game since 2013.
That could change next week, depending on how the draft plays out, but for now, Gilliam appears to be the favorite to replace Okung.
"Obviously they’d like me to be the left tackle, and I’m going to seize the opportunity and do my best to seal that spot up," he said.