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Respect factor high for Seahawks' best lineman

Posted by ESPN.com's Mike Sando

Walter Jones doesn't miss regular-season NFL games unless he is making a statement about his contract, resting for the playoffs or injured seriously enough to prevent him from functioning. That last one finally caught up to Jones this month after nearly 11 seasons.

We knew Jones' injury had to be serious if he was going to miss a game. His decision to undergo season-ending surgery confirms as much.

I cannot think of a Seahawks player deserving more respect than Jones. He has played through injuries for years without mentioning an injury when he easily could have used one to explain the occasional sack or breakdown. He would never blame a teammate or use an excuse. He has always respected his opponents. And he remains impervious to hype.

Super Bowl XL featured lots of pregame banter from Steelers linebacker Joey Porter. Porter was trying to rattle Seahawks tight end Jerramy Stevens, and he probably succeeded. But he never said anything about Jones before the game and he had nothing to say about him afterward, either. Jones kept his mouth shut all week and dominated that matchup.

Said Porter before their rematch this season: "Walter is a super veteran. He is not a guy who is going to talk to you, and he is not the type of guy who wants to play that game. He doesn't waste his energy, he goes and gets serious and plays football. I played him a few times and never really got a word out of him and never really tried to get a word out him. We just played."

Jones' knee finally couldn't take any more after playing the Cowboys on Thanksgiving with only four days between games. He gutted it out, allowed two sacks to Demarcus Ware and then said nothing about the injury after the game. He just played.