Jones is expected to speak with reporters Friday, but it’s not his style to make a big deal out of leaving the game. So others will make it a big deal, as they should:
Dave Boling, Tacoma News Tribune: “He changed the nature of this franchise, influenced the people around him, and may have forever altered the way people will judge others who attempt to play the position he mastered.”
Seahawks lineman Robbie Tobeck: “He’s more of a competitor than people realize. . . . He’s also one of toughest human beings I’ve ever been around . . . the man laughs at pain.”
Bertrand Berry, via Mike Sando of ESPN: “When you say Walter Jones, I think of the best tackle I have played against in my career.” (Over Jonathan Ogden, Orlando Pace.)
Offensive line coach Howard Mudd: “He had this phenomenal athleticism. Walt is the kind of guy who does things so easily, it almost looks like he’s playing at 75 or 80 percent.”
Steve Kelley, Seattle Times: “Without words, without noise, without a whisper of hyperbole, he made us all feel fortunate to be along for the ride.”
Perhaps the strongest words about Jones were said by Mike Holmgren a while ago. He said Jones was the best offensive player he ever coached — better than Joe Montana and Brett Favre.
That says it all.
UPDATE: Jones officially retired Thursday afternoon.