Walter Jones is about to take the next step in his election to the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
The field of 25 semifinalists for the Class of 2014 that was announced in November, and included the Seahawks’ nine-time Pro Bowl left tackle, will be reduced to 15 finalists Thursday – a group that will be announced during a one-hour special on the NFL Network at 6 p.m. PT.
It’s laughable to even imagine that Jones will not be a slam-dunk member of the 2014 Class, in his first year of eligibility, and that includes advancing as one of the 15 finalists. That group will be presented, debated and voted upon by the selection committee on Saturday, Feb. 1, the day before the Super Bowl at MetLife Stadium in The Meadowlands. The Class of 2014 also will be announced on the NFL Network on Feb. 1.
Jones was so dominate at the pivotal left tackle position from his rookie season, after being the sixth pick in the 1997 NFL Draft, that the only standard he can be measure against is the one he established. His nine Pro Bowl selections are the Seahawks’ franchise record – more than the Hall of Fame duo of defensive tackle Cortez Kennedy (eight) and wide receiver Steve Largent (seven). Jones also was voted All-Pro six times, including first-team status in 2001, 2004, 2005 and 2007. In 2005, The Sporting News ranked Jones at No. 1 in its annual list of the 101 best players in the league.
“No question about it, Walter is a no-brainer,” said Hall of Fame quarterback Warren Moon, who played for the Seahawks in Jones’ first two seasons. “He’s one the best left tackles to play during his era. He was All-Pro many times. He was a Pro Bowler many times. … And he was one of the most dominating players at that position for that 10-12 year period.
“He was the whole package.”