A couple of years ago, Walter Jones finished 2nd to Steve Largent in the balloting for "The Greatest Seahawk" on this very blog. With his retirement today, I think it's worth reprinting MY arguments from back then that he was the best player in franchise history...
In my opinion, the BEST PLAYER IN SEAHAWKS HISTORY is Walter Jones. The P-I had a really good piece about why Big Walt should be Canton-bound recently... Following the Seahawks' Super Bowl run in 2005, one NFC scout called Jones "not just the most dominating player at his position, but the most dominating player at any position in the NFL."
As much as we all love Steve Largent, he was never a DOMINANT player, and he was probably never the best player in the NFL at his position. Walter Jones is the indispensable man: He is the one player MOST responsible for the Seahawks golden age from 2003-2007. Without him, Matt Hasselbeck isn't an all-pro. Without him, Shaun Alexander would not have had his great run of success in Seattle. Without his off-season commitment to pushing goddamn Escalades around, he wouldn't have maintained his spectacular level of play over more than a decade.
If Walter Jones is not a first-ballot Hall of Famer, the Twelve Army should march on NFL headquarters with pitchforks and torches. When ESPN ranked the best players of the decade, Jones came in 4th behind only Tom Brady, Peyton Manning, and LaDanian Tomlinson, and is widely recognized as the elite player at possibly the most valuable position on the field in the modern NFL.
Oh, but there's more! Just check out this list of individual and team accomplishments from Big Walt's Seahawks run:
-9 Pro Bowl Selections
-4 All-Pro Selections
-100 team wins from 1998-2007 (His decade as the full-time starter)
-8 winning seasons
-5 division titles
-6 playoff appearances
-1 Conference Championship
-Blocked for a 1200+ yard rusher each season from 1998-2005
-Allowed only 23 sacks in 180 career starts
The ONLY proper way to start the 2010 regular season on September 12 is to have Big Walt raise the 12th Man Flag before the game, and put him in the Ring of Honor/Retire his number at halftime.
Enjoy your retirement, Mr. Jones. We'll see you in Canton a few years down the road.