On a glorious grey Seattle fall Sunday No. 71 once again heads out on the field to do battle for 60 minutes. At the end of the day you won't see his name in the box score or read much about him in a game recap but you can be sure that Walter Jones was one of the most dominant players on the field.
Since the Seattle Seahawks drafted Walter Jones with the #6 overall pick in the 1997 draft he has been a staple on the field for a team that gets very little national attention. Game after game he suits up and dominates at the left tackle position like few have before and few ever will.
With nine trips to the Pro Bowl, four first team All Pro selections, and six appearances on the All NFC Team, Jones is the preeminent tackle of his generation and has a very legitimate claim to the title of best tackle of all time.
In a day when players are always seeking the spotlight or making the news for off the field indiscretions Walter Jones just goes out and does his job better than anyone else in the NFL week after week and season after season.
You probably won't see any highlights of him on SportsCenter but if you watch the game and focus on him you will see him make plays that few others can match. Like in the 2005 NFC Championship game where Jones bulldozed Mike Rucker 15 yards down field and then planted him in the ground.
For a couple years in 2004-2006 many people considered Walter Jones to be the best player in the NFL. Not just the best lineman or left tackle but the best player period and if you watched him play in those years you couldn't really argue with that assesment.
Ray Rhodes gave this great quote which describes Walter to a tee: ""When Walter goes up against the majority of the guys in the league, it’s like you put the guy in a paper bag and carry him around and hold him up for game day and whip his butt and put him back in there." Ask any of the defensive ends he has played against and they will agree.
On the sad day when Walter Jones retires (hopefully not for a few more years) the Seahawks should break out the paint and immediately put his name up in the Ring of Honor.
Many people will remember him for his pro bowls, for his workout routine of pushing an SUV around, for his dominance on the field and gentle demeanor off but as I sit up in the Hawks Nest proudly sporting my No. 71 Seahawks jersey I will remember him as the greatest Seahawk to ever wear the uniform.