With the Steelers hosting the Seattle Seahawks this Sunday, our Ron Lippock caught up with some members of the 2005 Seahawks team that faced the Steelers in Super Bowl XL in Detroit.
Today, Ron spoke with seven time All-Pro and 2014 NFL Hall of Fame inductee Walter Jones. A tackle with the Seahawks from 1997-2009, Jones is considered one of the greatest of all time and a member of the NFL 2000s All-Decade Team.
So, first, I know you’ve been busy post-retirement. What have you been up to?
I have been busy. My kids just recently graduated high school so I’m enjoying being with them and this part of my life and helping them to figure out what they should do next.
I have a clothing line – Best to Ever Do It – B2EDI.com. I’m just looking to inspire people to be the best they can be in whatever they do in life. That’s what I tried to do in my life and career and what I’m tying to help others do through the clothing line. We have hoodies, t-shirts, hats. I’ve been enjoying working on this product line and inspiring people.
I also do the post-game show in Seattle on NBC and do radio for the Seahawks. After 22 years, I live in Seattle and am an official Washingtonian!
Let’s get right into it. What stands out to you most know when you think about Super Bowl XL?
You know what they say — people don’t remember the losers. But as a player, we re-live it all the time. We were the first team to take Seattle to the Super Bowl, so I take great pride in that.
Being drafted so high by Seattle and the highs and lows we went through as a team, bringing an NFC championship to the NFL. that was an awesome experience.
Going into the game, we didn’t really prepare for the game much differently than we did any other game. As an offensive unit, we felt good about what we could do and where we were. We felt we could move the ball against anybody. Game three of the season, we really felt things click for us
We had some bad calls, we had those moments. But we didn’t play as well as we could have. We missed out on opportunities and that affected the game for us.
Was it tough playing Pittsburgh in Detroit, which was Bettis’ home town?
It was like a home game for the Steelers. It was Bettis’ last game at home and so they had a lot going for them. It was his last hurrah and they got worked up for that. I remember we got tickets to the Pistons game in Detroit that week. They let us in through the back door and we had floor seats. They didn’t announce us to the fans – we just went in and sat there on the floor level.
Then, some of the Steelers players came in and they gave them a big announcement. We just looked at each other and said, ‘Hey – they didn’t announce us!’ That’s when we realized it was like a home game for them.
And you got to line up against Joey Porter
The matchup was weird. I watched Porter on TV and all that yapping. He and Jerramy Stevens were going at it all week. I just thought, oh my God, he’s going to talk the whole game, isn’t he? My goal was to not give him any fuel to start talking. We knew it would be hard to run the ball against them, but we had a good gameplan. We just made too many mistakes and they capitalized on them.
Any specific memories you have that stand out of the game?
Pre-game, I never went out to walk through the stadium before the game to see the hoopla. I regret that. I didn’t go out there and stretch and we did the warmups inside. I asked some of the other guys about the field conditions and took their words for it. But I wish I had gone out there and just got a feel for the stadium and felt the hoopla a bit.
Kimo [von Oelhoffen’s] club – I knew he had that club move and that I had to defend myself against that all game. But after the game my back was so sore. I had to hunker down whenever he came at me with that move. It was devastating. He was so good with it.
The game just went so fast. We moved the ball well and everything went according to plan early. We just couldn’t score. We never got into a flow, into a situation where things were going our way, Even after [Kelly] Herndon’s big interception, we got a holding call afterwards. Every move we had drive killers after it. We just couldn’t get into a rhythm.
But you had a good game versus Porter.
I think I did a good job holding him in check. My goal was to take him out of the game. That was my job. My goal was not to give him anything to talk about. On one play though, Stevens blocked Porter and Hasselback yelled “Good block!” to Stevens, but really so that Porter would hear him. Porter heard him and starting yelling at Hasselback, calling him names. Hasselback yelled back at him and they were going back and forth with each other for a few plays. I kept telling him to stop, that he can’t win that battle with Porter. After a while Matt came up to me and told me I was right, that there was no way he could win that battle!
What do you think about this Seattle team now?
I think they’re on the right track. They won a tough game last week – it was a big win for them. The first week everyone throws stuff at you you’ve never seen before. Now teams have film on each other. They have Wilson locked up, he’s the leader of this team. I think this team will go as far as this offensive line takes them. They’re still figuring their defense out. But the Steelers will be playing at home with a grudge after last week’s loss. So we’ll see how it all goes. They both have a game under their belt. I think it’ll be a close game.
As one of the few Seattle Hall of Fame players, what does that honor mean to you?
It’s amazing. To get in as a first ballot Hall of Famer, it means you had the respect of your peers and the writers. That you did it the right way. You have to play at a high level for a long time to make the Hall of Fame, with few exceptions. You have to be consistent. It’s awesome to be able to represent Seattle, and I try to talk up [Steve] Hutchinson and [Shaun] Alexander too.
You ever think of coaching?
I tried to coach my kids’ teams a bit, but it’s a lot of work. I like being retired and on my own schedule. The idea of being stressed each week trying to figure out how to block other teams’ defensive lines right now, that’s not my thing. But I talk to some of the guys and try to help them out when I can. You can’t take it with you. So if they have questions, I’m here to help. I’m here to make the next generation better and willing to help anyone.
Even a Steelers lineman?
Ha yes — even a Steelers offensive lineman!