SEATTLE — After an exceptional career that previously put him in the National Football League Hall of Fame and led to his jersey number being retired by the Seattle Seahawks, there was one final honor awaiting former offensive lineman Walter Jones.
That happened on Sunday when Jones was given a place on the team’s Ring of Honor, which is displayed on the facade of the suite level at CenturyLink Field.
Jones, who played 12 seasons for the Seahawks and was chosen to play in nine Pro Bowls, was honored at halftime of Seattle’s game against Oakland. His name, jersey number and the years of his career were unveiled on the far left of the 11-member Ring of Honor, right next to onetime teammate Cortez Kennedy.
“It was great. A great honor,” said Jones, who was joined on the field by family members and by fellow Ring of Honor inductees Dave Krieg, Kenny Easley and Kennedy.
Adding to the day’s festivities, Jones’ four teammates on Seattle’s 2005 starting offensive line — right tackle Sean Locklear, right guard Chris Gray, center Robbie Tobeck and left guard Steve Hutchinson — were on hand to raise the 12th Man flag before the game. The four later removed the black cloth to unveil the name of Jones, the left tackle, on the Ring of Honor.
“Any time I get a chance to get with those guys, it’s fun to reminisce,” Jones said. “You go back and think of those times in the locker room, and those guys made it fun. … To see these guys out here today is amazing.”
Jones, who grew up in the South — he was raised in Alabama and attended Florida State University — said on Sunday that he now considers Seattle home.
“It’s been amazing,” he said of his connection to Seattle. “I was telling my mom that this was the perfect place for me to come and play football. … I didn’t know anything about Seattle until I got drafted (by the Seahawks), and for me to come out here and play the game of football, it was amazing for me.
“I am so honored to be able to have my name up in the Ring of Honor,” he added. “And no matter how hard you try not to be, (the halftime ceremony) was very emotional.”
When Seattle defensive end Cliff Avril dropped Oakland quarterback Derek Carr early in the second quarter, it was Avril’s second sack of the season and his first since the team’s season opener against Green Bay.
It had been “the longest drought of my career between sacks,” Avril said. “I’m just happy to get one and get the weight off my shoulders. They say (sacks) come in bunches, so we’ll see.”
Sunday’s game was played in a mostly steady rain, heavier at times than others, which no doubt hampered the passing games of both teams.
But otherwise for the Seahawks, said linebacker K.J. Wright, “the weather wasn’t a problem at all. We play great in the rain. We’ve totally dominated teams (in the rain previously), so we’re used to it.”
Celebrating a 49ers loss
When San Francisco’s loss to St. Louis was announced Sunday, the crowd at CenturyLink Field reacted with predictable cheers.
Also happy was Seattle wide receiver Doug Baldwin. He could be seen on the sideline, raising his arms in celebration.
With a wink and a smile he said, “I’m always happy for the other guys,” referring to whoever is playing the 49ers.
Seattle defensive tackle Brandon Mebane had just one tackle against Oakland, but he helped clog the middle and limit the Raiders to just 37 rushing yards.
“I really think Brandon’s having his best season,” said Seahawks coach Pete Carroll. “I think he’s having the most impact he’s had since we’ve been here. He just seems to be on his game and causing problems. He knocked the line of scrimmage back a couple of times for big plays for us.
“It’s great to have him. He’s been around a long time (eight NFL seasons), and sometimes you forget about the nose tackle. But he’s been a big deal for us again.”