If Walter Jones is not a first-ballot selection for the Pro Football Hall of Fame in his first year of eligibility, then who is?
His dominance at the pivotal left tackle position during the 12 seasons he played for the Seahawks (1997-2008) is underscored by Jones’ resume – a club-record nine Pro Bowl berths and a six-time All-Pro. The Sporting News selected Jones as the best player in the game – not just at his position – in 2006.
All of this is relevant because the 2013 Class will be inducted into the Hall this evening, and because the list of those eligible for the 2014 Class was announced yesterday. Jones is on the list because he spent the 2009 season on injured reserve, so the Hall has determined that season counts in the five-year waiting period before players can be considered.
Jones already is generating support, as Jim Breech at CBSSports.com looks at those eligible for the 2014 Class: “The selection committee has been on an offensive linemen kick for the past the few years.
With the exception of 2011, at least one offensive lineman has been selected for the Hall in every year since 2006, including two linemen – Larry Allen and Jonathan Ogden – in the class of 2013. The 2014 class can make a strong case for two linemen – (Walter) Jones and Kansas City Chiefs guard Will Shields – but we're going to go with Jones.
Over 12 seasons, Jones played in 180 games and started every single one of those. The Seahawks left tackle was a nine-time Pro Bowler and made first-team All-Pro four times. Jones wasn't supposed to be eligible for the Hall of Fame until 2015, but the Hall recently ruled that because Jones spent his final season in 2009 on injured reserve, he would be eligible a year earlier in 2014.”