Keith Butler stapled his own hand in order to remain in a game versus San Diego.
Paul Moyer went out for one play after rupturing both testicles. He had surgery to remove half of one, and three quarters of the other, but he didn't miss a game.
Kenny Easley won NFL Defensive Player of the year with a broken hand and a shoulder that he kept dislocating.
These are a few examples of some former Seahawk' players that were incredibly tough. None of them can hold a candle to Walter Jones. Shortly after being drafted by the Hawks, Big Walt was found to be one of the few people on Earth that pain medications don't work on.
NFL teams want their employees to perform at peak levels. Management wants them to not only play at an optimal level, but to play at that level even when injured. Teams routinely give their players anti-inflammatories, pain relievers, and whatever they are allowed to by the collective bargaining agreement. Teams don't do this to gain an edge, but it is done in order to not lose an edge. It is all done for competitive balance.
This is what separates Walter Jones from legendary "tough" men. The last three years of Dick Butkis' career are a shell of his former self. Why? Knee injuries reduced his effectiveness. Even though Butkis admitted to taking painkillers by the bottle, knee surgery was not advanced enough to prolong his career. Walter Jones was unable to do even that. Jones missed four games during his rookie season because of a sprained ankle. Walter Jones might not have missed one if he could've taken anti-inflammatories. Mr. Jones' career ended because of a knee surgery. How he was able to get the surgery, and recover, even partially, is just amazing.
With all the sacrifice that Walter Jones put forth for the Seahawks' franchise, I hope that he can find tranquility in his retirement
Big Walt, for all that you did as a Seahawk, for the stress that you put your body through, for not retiring with a legitimate reason as a rookie, thank you. You never complained, but instead went about your business in quiet dignity. You were more than the best tackle in NFL history, you are the epitome of a man. Thank you for your sacrifice and inspiration.