EVERETT — Walter Jones held the puck above center ice waiting for encouragement.
But no shouts came forth from the Everett Silvertips fans, all of them too transfixed by the Seattle Seahawks legend and NFL Hall-of-Famer’s presence to utter a sound.
“I wanted someone to yell, ‘Come on, Big Walt, drop the puck!’” a grinning Jones said between periods of Everett’s 6-5 victory over the visiting Tri-City Americans Monday at Angel of the Winds Arena. “But nobody did, so finally I just dropped it.”
We can all breathe easy now. Tips Win! pic.twitter.com/JSFKc1lmgZ
— Everett Silvertips (@WHLsilvertips) January 16, 2018
“Big Walt” was a nine-time Pro Bowler and four-time first-team All-Pro who blocked for Shaun Alexander and Matt Hasselbeck when the Seahawks went to their first Super Bowl after the 2005 season. He was on hand Monday for the ceremonial puck drop and a meet-and-greet with fans.
Not everyday you get a chance to meet a Hall of Famer. Walter Jones, big Tips fan, for a day at least. pic.twitter.com/PJfAgr7LNX
— Silvertips Color Guy (@TipsATG) January 16, 2018
Jones still lives in the Seattle area. His main job now is being dad to Walterius and Waleria, both of whom are high school seniors. Walterius, a 6-foot, 305-pound defensive tackle at Lake Washington High School in Kirkland, will play football next season at Dakota State, an NAIA school in Madison, South Dakota.
“I don’t know if I’m raising them or they’re raising me,” Jones said. “They’re getting ready for life after high school so that’s been a fun adventure for me because I get to witness that and be a part of that.”
Jones played his entire career career with Seattle and is one of four players to have his number retired by the organization. He occasionally raises the 12th Man flag at CenturyLink Field to much acclaim.
“I’m a total (Seahawks) fan. I watch everything,” he said. “This team has done great for the last couple of years so that’s the standard that they have set. So anytime you don’t stand up to that standard there have to be changes. I think everybody knows that, so for me as a fan that’s what I do. If those guys need help or those linemen need help, I’m always willing to help those guys.”
He worked with offensive lineman George Fant last year during Fant’s rookie season.
It’s Jones’s way of paying forward what people such as Cortez Kennedy did for him. Jones was close to Kennedy, the Seattle Hall-of-Fame defensive tackle who passed away last May.
“It’s still hard to imagine that he’s gone,” Jones said. “This is a guy that I really looked up to when I came into the league. As players I think you need those veteran guys to kind of show you the way and show you how to play this game, and Tez did that.
“We became the best of friends and for things to happen that way, it’s tough, but you have to move on,” Jones continued. “I remember him every day, I think about him every day… He definitely played the game the right way and you wanted to go out and play the game the same way.”
Play the game the right way. That’s a lesson aspiring hockey players — like the Everett Silvertips — can take to heart.
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