Walter Jones the best pro to ever play for FSU aside from Deion?


Jay Glazer says he was the best tackle in the game for his 14 year career. The decision is hardly a surprise, because Jones missed all of last season after having microfracture surgery on his left knee and the club acquired his long-term replacement a week ago by selecting Russell Okung with the sixth pick in the NFL draft. But the circumstances don’t diminish the significance of Jones’ retirement. The club is retiring his No. 71 – making Jones and Hall of Fame wide receiver Steve Largent the only players in franchise history to receive the honor. Also, Gov. Christine Gregoire has proclaimed Friday as Walter Jones Day in the state of Washington. But there will be no farewell news conference, at Jones’ request – no, insistence. "Not surprising," tackle Sean Locklear said. "That’s Walt." Jones, 36, will leave the Seahawks just as he arrived as a first-round draft choice in 1997 – with a lot of other people saying glowing things about him, buy nary a word from the man himself. Jones was so good, for so long, that any discussion of the best players to ever line up at left tackle quickly gets to his name, if not start with his name. In 2005, The Sporting News ranked Jones as the best player in the game, regardless of position. "Walter is the best lineman I ever coached," said Howard Mudd, Jones’ line coach in his rookie season. "And that’s saying something." Mudd, who just retired after 35 seasons as a coach in the league, also was a Pro Bowl guard for the San Francisco 49ers during his seven-season playing career. He has coached and seen a lot of talented left tackles, and his list of best-ever candidates includes Hall of Famer Anthony Munoz, Tony Boselli, Jonathan Ogden, Orlando Pace, Jim Parker and Russ Washington. "I tell people, the two greatest athletes I ever played with were Deion Sanders and Walter Jones," said Tobeck "With Walter, you would say he’s one of the top athletes who probably ever played in the NFL." Statistics are hard to come back for offensive linemen, but those available more than support these lofty assessments of Jones’ domination and athletic ability. In 12 seasons, which included those 180 starts, he was penalized for holding nine times. Jones allowed 23 sacks in 5703 pass plays, 2 to hall-of-famer Bruce Smith in a 2003 game, and 2 in his final game as a Seahawk to All-Pro Demarcus Ware during which Jones gutted out 60+ snaps while needing complicated surgery on his knee. Former Seahawks coach Mike Holmgren once called Jones the best offensive player he had ever coached – which is saying something when you consider that vast group included Joe Montana, Steve Young and Jerry Rice as an assistant with the San Francisco 49ers and Brett Favre as head coach with the Green Bay Packers. "I faced a number of other Hall of Famers who were fantastic players, and Walt was head and shoulders above them," Pro Bowl Defensive End Patrick Kerney said. Read more on Walter Jones and see what his teammates had to say about what made him so good. A Video Tribute to Walter Jones. Be sure to check out the 3:00 mark. I think Jones pushes Derrick Brooks to 3rd place, but it would be close. Your thoughts?