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Mora press conference: Walter Jones placed on IR, done for the season

Post by Eric Williams on Oct. 28, 2009 at 10:50 am with 31 Comments »
October 28, 2009 11:36 am

Well, the move the Seattle Seahawks were anticipated to make for weeks finally happened today, as head coach Jim Mora announced that cornerstone offensive tackle Walter Jones has been placed on the season-ending injured reserve list today.

Jones has been out for over a month rehabilitating his surgically repaired left knee, but the pain continued to the point where he could not make it back out to the field.

“After much deliberation and evaluation and soul searching between the team, the medical staff and Walter Jones, it has been determined that the best thing to do for Walter, for this football team and for his future is to put him on injured reserve,” Mora said during the opening of a half-hour long talk with reporters this morning. “So we’re going to do that today.”

Mora said he does not know if Jones will return next season, and did not rule out the possibility that Jones will have another surgery to try and stabilize the knee.

The Seahawks brought up running back Louis Rankin to the active roster, and added a linebacker to fill Rankin’s spot on the practice squad.

Mora also said that linebacker Lofa Tatupu is in Alabama seeing noted specialist Dr. James Andrews to evaluate his options in repairing a torn pectoral muscle. Mora said the team should know by the end of the day what the veteran linebacker’s status is.

“It is too early for a career eulogy,” Mora said. “But the excellence that is Walter is probably unparalleled at that position in the history of the game. This guy has done everything that you can do to be a great player, year in and year out. His level of consistency, his level of excellence is unmatched.

“He’s a great leader. He’s a great man. He’s a great teammate. He commands respect of not only his teammates, but players, executives, coaches, fans of the National Football League. He’s just been a dominant, dominant, dominant football player for many, many years. And hopefully with the right course of action he can continue that.”

With the Seahawks now likely playing their four left tackle on Sunday, and fifth different starting lineup along the offensive line in seven games, Mora was asked if the team prepared enough in hindsight for the injuries along the offensive line, considering both projected starting left tackle Jones and left guard Mike Wahle did not play a single snap during the regular season in 2009.

“I believe that we did a decent job of preparing,” Mora said. “One of our focuses during the offseason was to re-sign Ray Willis, so that we felt like we had three tackles, and a succession plan for Walt. And Ray has played well on the right side.

“What we didn’t foresee is Sean Locklear getting hurt. And then Brandon Frye, who came in and was really doing a nice job, him having a season-ending injury. So those were things that we couldn’t foresee.

“I believe in drafting Max Unger, we addressed the issue of, you know, maybe the fact that Mike Wahle, if he wasn’t at the end of his career, was approaching the end of his career. And so we were going to draft a young guy to play inside.

“We didn’t anticipate that he would be done. And we didn’t anticipate in that happening that Rob Sims would miss a large majority of the games, or Chris Spencer would miss a large majority of the games. So I think, yes we did plan for it, but we didn’t plan for the enormity of the problems that we’ve faced up front with regards to injuries.

“I don’t know that you can. We would have had to have 20 offensive linemen on our roster at training camp.”

However, Mora did say the team believed there was a good chance that by the time the regular season started that Jones would be ready to go.

* Mora also announced today that quarterback Matt Hasselbeck is experiencing some soreness in his cracked ribs and will not practice today, but should be OK to play on Sunday.

“He’s fine,” Mora said. “His ribs are a bit sore. He worked hard last week during the bye week and through the weekend, and just has some soreness. So we’re going to give him today to rest and recover. But it is not anything that will keep him from playing on Sunday at full strength.”

* As for the other injured players, Mora said Sean Locklear (ankle) likely will not play this week, leaving Damion McIntosh to man the left tackle position this week against Dallas.

* Linebacker Leroy Hill (groin) should start this week and play on first and second downs.

* Cornerback Marcus Trufant (back) will play this week, but likely will not start and play just on third downs, Mora said. The team still has to make a move to create a roster spot for Trufant, which the team has until Saturday to do.

* Patrick Kerney (groin) will not practice today, but Mora said he’s expected to play on Sunday.

Leave a comment Comments → 31
  1. madpunter88 says:

    Oh well. Hope this doesn’t signal the end of a Hall of Fame career. It would be a shame for Big Walt to go out like this. Let’s hope he can come back for one (or more) year next year. Good luck to him.

  2. let’s hope the front office is smart enough to draft a fantastic OT and OG in the next draft… we can’t rely on a 36yo tackle coming off of IR due to microfracture surgery for the 2010 campaign.

  3. Dukeshire says:

    I’m sorry to be callus here but it’s about time. They did the right thing by giving him every opportunity to make a comeback, but this had to be done. I’m actually excited about the addition of Rankin. Can this possibly, mercifully bring an end to the Edge experiment?

    Walt, there is a part of me that hopes to see you back in ’10 but realizes it is a very long shot. You are a Warrior. I hope understand there is no shame in going out this way. You have given the team, city and fans all you had and we love you for it. Thank you and best of health. I cannot wait to see you raise the 12th man flag, go up on the ring of honor and get fitten for your yellow blazer in 5 years.

  4. Yes, its time for Walt to get his deserving ride into the sunset. Struggling back from surgeries at 35 is no way for a Hall of Famer to retire. I hope that after thinking things over, he will announce that he’s done.

    Then, Walt should raise the 12th Man Flag and we should have a massive retirement party for Walt at halftime of the final home game, with many toasts to Big Walt afterward.

    Walt, Thank You for a great ride.

  5. nightwulf says:

    Walt, thank you, you were the very best, ever…Your like shall not soon be seen again.

  6. Frustrated, Inc.

  7. bigmike04 says:

    Hold the phone

    Hey Eric
    My question to you since Locklear isnt going to be ready this week and Rakin for some idiotic reason is active. Who is the Backup LT since Kyle Williams is still on PS and Locklear is hurt, who else do you have for emergency if Damion Get hurt?? Will they drop Rankin to bring up Kyle??

  8. Dukeshire says:

    John Owens.

  9. footballscaa says:

    Thanks for the memories Walt. It’s too bad those memories will include you sitting out almost every training camp for more money. Lame.

  10. highimpactstaffing says:

    God Speed, Walter. We’d love to have you back, but in case you don’t, thanks for everything. You were the best offensive lineman I’ve ever seen.

    Side note: Dr. James Andrews works out of both Birmingham, AL, and Gulf Breeze, FL. My son broke his arm playing (of all things, Left Tackle) this year, and he was seen by Dr. Andrews in Gulf Breeze (about 20 minutes from my house). Great doctor, and a nice man. If you ever need an orthopedic surgeon, he’s the guy you want. He doesn’t just work on pro athletes.

  11. Does anyone know exactly how Walter Jones got hurt? I know it wasn’t during the Dallas game. This was very sad, he played at such a high level all of last year, until the Dallas game. And why was it so bad he needed microfracture surgery?

  12. princeaden says:

    I can understand, for lack of a better term “holding” Walt’s spot until all party’s were sure about this season. He deservs that. What I don’t understand is Mora acting like he is “blindsided” by the fact that Locklear, Sims and Spencer have missed time due to injury. With the injury history of those three, I would be MORE suprised to see them play a whole season without injury. And whether or not Walt fights his way back or calls it a career (I couldn’t blame him either way), he is still in my mind the best Lineman Seattle has ever and most likely will ever see. On another note, are we really depending on John Owens as backup to McIntosh? Really???? Ware could possibly break Derrick Thomas’ record, especially if Big Mac were to go down.

  13. bird_spit says:

    footballscaa –

    Some people are idiots, it is just the way it is.. Today they are all having the best day ever reading your post. They are looking at you and feel that they are on top of the world.

  14. So for the Dallas game the Hawks can choose for the O line from among:

    LT McIntosh, LG Sims, C Spencer, RG Unger, RT Willis and backups C/G Vallos, G Wrotto, G Gibson?

    Did anyone else notice that bigmike made an excellent point? Well, Gibson did play LT in college.

  15. Whoever the most injury prone offensive lineman is coming out of college I’m sure we’ll draft them and then be shocked when they get hurt. We’ll get “blindsided” again.

    With respect to Walt — You were the best. I wish Bill Leavy would have allowed you to finish your career with a ring.

  16. nightwulf says:

    In case it escaped your razor sharp notice, Walt was the best in the game WITHOUT training camp. As far as money goes, he was the best in the game, possibly the best ever. Why SHOULDN’T he command top dollar? After all, he’s now going to have trouble walking and/or standing for the rest of his life…

  17. I like how Mora ended the clip with respect “to those are three pretty big topics.”

    1. Our best player, Walter Jones, is done for the year (though it never started).
    2. Our QB still has some rib soreness (although he’ll be fine).
    3. The heart of our defense may miss the season (and IMO second best defender behind Mebane).

    As much as we knew Walt probably wouldn’t be ready, it still sucks. I guess most bloggers knew last off-season that he wouldn’t be ready but they aren’t the “experts” either. I guess experts aren’t allowed to use common sense with respect to microfracture surgery procedures. Afterall, it was a “non weighht bearing bone.” Oh, that’s right, this is an injury we were “blindsided” by. But, hey, we had Lock and his various injuries the last few years as the rock of stability for LT. At least Sims has never been hurt. Same with Spencer. The only thing that surprises me with Spencer is that he’s made it, what, four games in a row now?

  18. Jeez, BobbyK, lighten up. All our injured guys were not “injury prone” when we drafted them. Walt wasn’t, nor Sims, nor Kerney, Hill, Lofa, or Tru. Its football; injuries happen to anyone. If you can predict all future injuries, then send the team your list, please.

  19. And if anyone has a black eye with respect to Walt being a hold out every year, I think it’s the Seattle Seahawks. As nightwulf said, he was the best LT in the NFL. IMO he’s the best LT in the HISTORY of the league. Why the hell shouldn’t he be the highest paid player at his position? I think the Seahawks were asses for not giving him what he deserved earlier.

  20. hawkdawg says:

    If Ware is healthy, I fear he is going to destroy Damion. Unless we keep Carlson in all day long.

  21. What the hell did I say about our injury prone players? I said specifically injury prone offensive linemen!

    It’s football. People get hurt. You’re right. I don’t blame anyone for most injuries, certainly not the FO.

    However, look at the clowns on our OL and the history of their injuries the last few years. Look at Lock getting hurt midway through training camp last year and then missing the early part of the year. And then got hurt again and ended up on IR. And the year before that he wasn’t exactly injury free, but he did play in all 16 games and that’s all that matters. But in ’06 he was injured again and missed over a month. There’s a pattern. Same with Sims and Spencer. Except for his rookie year when he didn’t play, Spencer has had something wrong with him EVERY year. That’s four years of proving that he’s going to get hurt. Seems this is a pattern. If we want to resign Sims/Spencer for next year, I don’t think we should be shocked and a legit reason to p!ss and moan when they get hurt again and blame it on “bad luck.”

  22. freedom_X says:

    Vallos I believe at the current time is the backup at LT, which is scary (Owens would be the emergency backup.) Remember that Unger can swing to tackle as well.

    Jones’ knee had been a problem early last year and got worse and worse, finally culminating in the Dallas game when he had trouble physically moving.

    I heard on KJR/John Clayton that there isn’t really anything structurally wrong with Walter’s knee. It’s not that there’s a poorly healed joint/cartilage/whatever there. There is something causing pain, and a normal player would deal with it by taking anti-inflammatories, especially at this stage in his career. But Walter Jones is allergic to those drugs, and he simply can’t deal with that level of pain anymore.

    And I can’t blame him. Can you imagine playing pro football as a lineman for 12 years, hardly ever missing a game until the last year and a half, and never taking any kind of pain killers ever? That’s a tough guy to me.

  23. For once I agree with BobbyK. I’m losing patience and confidence in the way this organization is being run when it comes to scouting talent to put on the field. If you read other teams forums, there is nowhere that compares to Seattle in terms of injury excuses. Whether it’s from the coaches, players, fans or media. I’m absolutely tired of it. Football is sport where you have to anticipate the injuries and overcome them with depth and coaching. Other teams have injuries too…example being the Patriots. They lost their starting All-world QB for god’s sake and they still went 11-5 last year. If you develop talent, injuries would not be so devestating. You could still compete, not look foolish against the Cardinals at home.
    Walt is and will forever be one of my favorite Hawks. I relish the day I can watch him be honored by raising the flag and seeing his number hanging in the ring of honor. Here’s to hoping he can live a happy, healthy and productive life after football (I’m raising my beer up to the computer to solute Walt).

  24. Duke you called it before the season ever started – and I remember giving you a bit of a hard time about it – calling you something like a negativist – – looks like you were dead right.

    Too bad – I was still holding out hope – and thinking of the lift getting back such a cornerstone player would give to the team. For some reason, I always assumed he eventually be back.

    Got to keep moving forward.

  25. BigMike04: Mora said today that Steve Vallos would be the backup tackle if either McIntosh or Willis got hurt because of his knowledge of the team’s scheme.

  26. BallHawg says:

    I hate to say it but this year is done. Without a good offensive line we dont have the protection Matt needs and i dont care what run schemes you put together theyre not going to work when the whole line is out of synch. Unfortunately until we get a solid line that has played together on a consistent basis then whoever is back there at Qb is going to be running for their life.

  27. This is a surprise? He should’ve been IRed as soon as he couldn’t practice. He may have a year or 2 left, but I really doubt it. Tauscher is still available. Maybe he should be inquired about.

  28. This reminds me of an Irish wake where everyone stands around the casket and starts drinking hard liquor. Soon they all start hugging, crying and professing their love for each other; then the fist fights break out.

  29. Stevos – that’s damn funny! Probably funniest post of the day award. LOL.

    There were quite a few bloggers, like Duke, who predicted that Walt was done last offseason. Some of us were so used to the idea that Walt wasn’t like other players, mere mortals, that we perhaps wished him to play than looking at the facts of reality.

    But even with Walt, our line was bad last year. With the exception of when Lock missed the early part of the year, our starting OL was together for quite awhile but they were NOT good. Willis was probably our best OL for the first half of last season (after Walt, of course) and he wasn’t even a starter after Lock did come back (I thought Womack had a good year, better than Sims would have at LG so that’s not necessarily a bad thing for ’08).

    We can blame last season in part on injuries to the OL but most of those injuries didn’t mount up until the season was past the half way point.

    With that being said, we really didn’t improve the OL in the off-season besides drafting Unger. That’s what most fans are saying. It’s not hindsight if most people here were saying it 6 months ago. If you go back and look at the posts last off-season, most people were constantly complaining about our bad OL. And, yet, here we are today. I know there’s give and take and you can’t have a Pro Bowler at every position and stud back-ups at each spot too… but people here were talking about our starting OL not being that good (even if they were all healthy) and the lack of depth. And that was with assuming Walt would be able to play Superman at LT again.

    Oh well…

  30. BobbyK, you’re hardcore right, too. Losing Womack was complete idiocy on the FO’s part.

    And also, I’m done talking about Tauscher. I guess green bay took him. I guess it looks like Levi Jones wouldve been a good pickup. Shoulda put big walt on IR week 1.

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