All in all, it’s been a pretty good couple of weeks for Walter Jones.
The college team for which he played, Florida State, won the national championship. The NFL team for which he played, the Seattle Seahawks, won the Super Bowl. And Jones, a nine-time pro Bowler, was voted into the NFL Hall of Fame.
“It’s been great,” Jones said on The Doug Gottlieb Show. “It’s been overwhelming for me. For my college team to win the national championship and for Seattle to take the championship and for me to get in the Hall of Fame this year, it’s just been great. It’s just been a great year for me, man. I’ve just been enjoying the moment.”
Jones, 40, played his entire 13-year career in Seattle, from 1997 to 2009. He played in the Seahawks’ Super Bowl XL loss to the Steelers in 2006 – a game in which many felt Pittsburgh was aided by some questionable officiating. Jones couldn’t help but think about that game as he watched Seattle dismantle Denver, but he was happy and proud nonetheless.
“I think as a player, you think about that,” he said. “You think ‘Man, we had this opportunity to bring it back, and we didn’t do it.’ That’s the way that the chips lay. We didn’t play our best football on that Sunday. So for me to able to witness that and see the team bring the championship back to Seattle, that was so rewarding to me – even knowing that I wasn’t a part of it. I started my career with Seattle, and I ended my career with Seattle. To see them bring the Lombardi to Seattle still feels good to me.”
Jones injured his knee in a game against the Cowboys on Thanksgiving in 2008. He attempted to rehab the knee and get back to 100 percent, but it wasn’t in the cards. Midway through the 2009 season, Jones was put on injured reserve. He said he wanted to play in 2010 but instead announced his retirement that April.
“Once I made that decision to call it quits, I didn’t have nothing else to prove,” Jones sad. “I was ready to move on and call it a career. It wasn’t a hard decision for me to make.”
Jones said that Bruce Smith and Osi Umenyiora were among the toughest players he went against in his career.
“Those guys gave me fits, man,” Jones said. “I had to work hard every Sunday to stay consistent, to keep those guys from getting sacks or making plays.”
Jones also discussed Florida State quarterback Jameis Winston, who claims he may stay in Tallahassee for two more years – even though he’s eligible for the NFL Draft after the 2014 season.
“I think it’s all about the opportunities in front of you,” Jones said. “If he’s got an opportunity to be part of something great, I would say stay. But if he feels like this is his opportunity to go to the pros and he’s got a chance to play or be a high draft pick, I would say come out. It all depends on what his opportunities are.”
Jones added that his son will likely present him at the NFL Hall of Fame induction ceremony later this summer.
“He was there when I got the phone call, and he was there to see his dad in that emotional state – crying and very happy,” Jones said. “Hopefully he can be the one that finishes the process with me. He’s the No. 1 on my list.”