What’s Walter Jones up to these days?
“Big Walt” is now a full-time “Big Dad.”
And he’s about to make a big-time deal.
Two summers after he followed Steve Largent and Cortez Kennedy as the third career Seahawks player inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame, Seattle’s former franchise left tackle is enjoying retirement in Renton. His main efforts these days: Helping get his 16-year-old twins through high school.
“I’m up here. My kids (son Walterius and daughter Waleria) are in school. Just trying to be a parent to them,” Jones, 42, said this week when I stopped to talk to him at Seahawks headquarters.
Jones was there in Renton talking to the newest Seahawks about finances and being a professional, part of the team’s rookie-transition program. He looked trim compared to his playing days I covered from 2005 until he retired after a knee injury and two surgeries ended his playing days in 2008.
And he looked happy.
Monday’s rookie program began with former longtime team executive Gary Wright providing a detailed history of the franchise. Wright explained to the new guys how dominant Jones was for Seattle from his rookie season as the NFL’s sixth-overall pick in 1997 beyond the team’s first Super Bowl in February 2006.
How dominant was Jones? He was only one of the best offensive linemen of all time. He was a nine-time Pro Bowl selection and a four-time All-Pro. He was called for holding only six times in more than 5,700 pass plays in his career. Heck, last year the Seahawks’ offensive line almost got called for holding six times in some games.
Jones allowed only 23 sacks in 180 regular-season games, one in every 248 pass attempts. Seattle allowed 31 sacks in its first seven games of 2015.
Former Seahawks defensive end Bryce Fisher was his teammate and was on the panel with him during Monday’s rookie program. Fisher told the new Seahawks of the times Jones embarrassed him in practices, and how some Seahawks defensive players refused to line up opposite Jones in practice over fears of a similar fate.
Jones just gave a hearty laugh at that.
Jones has remained active in community-service projects around Puget Sound and in his native area around Huntsville, Alabama. Each Thanksgiving time he hosts the Walter Jones Turkey Bowl, a flag-football tournament back in Huntsville to benefit the non-profit HEALS, Inc. (Health Establishments at Local Schools).
“Doing some stuff in the community, and just enjoying retirement,” Jones said with an accomplished smile.
Jones was born in Aliceville, Alabama. He still has a home in Madison County in his native state. The house is as big as he is: Accoring to al.com it is 13,450 square feet, with eight bedrooms, 12 bathrooms, a pool house and pool, six-car garage and a regulation-sized football field complete with NFL-height goal posts on his 14-acre estate. He put the home, built in 2003, up for sale in 2011 but got no solid buyers.
Hey, got a few million lying around? Want to own the ultimate memento from a Seahawks Hall of Famer? Jones is now moving his house from a conventional sale to an online auction. It begins Monday morning and ends Tuesday afternoon. The starting bid is $1,000,000.
Interluxe, a luxury real-estate online auction firm based in Charlotte, North Carolina, is selling Jones’ mansion. Friday, prospective bidders could begin preview tours of the house that will run through this weekend.
I even have an MLS number for you if you are interested: 977697.
“I got a place back home but I am in the process of selling it right now,” is how Jones described it to me this week. “Hopefully, by the end of the summer Seattle will be my ... I’ve been here forever, but I’m saying this will be my home -- from now at least until my kids graduate. My kids are juniors in high school right now.
“Once they graduate and make their decision where they want to go, I might try to (move). I’ve been up here for so long, I’m tired of all the four seasons. I still enjoy and love Seattle, though. So I consider this my home, man, and I enjoy being here.”
THIS TEAM LIKE THE 2013 SUPER BOWL-CHAMPION ONE?
Sure, it’s only June. Training camp doesn’t begin for another five weeks. Yet my News Tribune colleague Dave Boling sees some potential similarities between the roster that’s taking shape this summer and the one that started Seattle’s run to its only Super Bowl title in the 2013 season. He wrote about that in Thursday’s TNT.
“Barring unforeseen events, the 2016 Seahawks will be one of the best teams in franchise history,” Boling wrote.
Events, the foreseen and unforeseen, begin when the Seahawks report to training camp July 29 -- and especially on Sept. 11 with the season opener against Miami.