Canada has launched a brutal attack on American soils, reporting that Walter Jones is shelved until at least November. This attack comes with our nation's army overextended two worlds over. The shame, Canada.
Ok, if you don't think I'm funny, this has been a bad day of content for you. I'll be perfectly serious for a second.
2009 is undoubtedly the end of an era. It is the first season without Mike Holmgren, future Hall of Fame enshrined coach. There was good reason to believe Jones was not going to be healthy this season, and longtime readers of Field Gulls know my initial reaction to reading he would undergo microfracture knee surgery was a tentative goodbye. The value of left tackle is sometimes overstated, but Jones is one of the greatest players in NFL history. It is almost impossible to overvalue a pure talent of his stature. He is everything Mean Joe Greene was for the Steelers, Walter Payton was for the Bears or Ronnie Lott was for the 49ers. He is, was, will forever be a transcendent talent.
Matt Hasselbeck is fading now too, and that is casting a shadow over this season. When we evaluate Tim Ruskell, we must understand that however he may have anticipated Hasselbeck and Jones' decline, he could not have replaced either. Not functionally, and certainly not their production. The loss of those two players alone is enough to hurt Seattle's chances of contention in 2009. This team is rebuilding, not because it hasn't efficiently procured talent, but because two irreplaceable members of its foundation are getting old, and their respective injuries have advanced to a point of being unpredictable and career threatening.
I'll save the afterword until his retirement is official, but God bless you Walter Jones. You did something in pads and with slide steps and pull blocks that brought joy into the hearts of millions of people.