- Terry Blount, ESPN Staff Writer
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RENTON, Wash. -- Walter Jones has made the 25 finalists for the Pro Football Hall of Fame, a deserving honor in his first year of eligibility, but not enough.
The former Seattle Seahawks offensive tackle deserves induction without having to wait. It is no exaggeration to say that Jones may be the best left tackle to ever play the game.
Allow me to list a few reasons why:
• In 13 NFL seasons with Seattle, Jones started all 180 games he played, a remarkable achievement in itself for any lineman. Receiver Steve Largent is the only player who started more games for Seattle at 197.
• Jones was on the field at left tackle for 5,703 pass attempts, but he was called for holding only nine times. That’s only once in every 633 passes or .0016 percent.
• According to coaching statistics, Jones was beaten for a sack only 23 times. That’s less than twice a season. Some tackles get beat for a sack twice a game or more. Jones allowed his quarterback to be sacked only once in every 248 pass attempts or .004 percent of the time.
• Jones was voted into nine Pro Bowls and was a six-time Associated Press All-Pro. He also was voted to the NFL’s All Decade team for 2000-10. In 2005, Sporting News listed Jones as the best player in the NFL at any position.
• The Seahawks retired Jones’ No. 71, joining Largent and defensive tackle Cortez Kennedy as the only Seattle players to earn that honor. And former Washington Gov. Chris Gregoire declared April 30, 2010 at Walter Jones Day across the state, which says more about the quiet giant off the field than it does about his accomplishments on the field.
Jones is going to make it to the Pro Football Hall of Fame, but the time is now. He is one of the best, if not the best, to ever play the game at his position, so why make him wait?