RENTON—The retirement of Seattle Seahawks offensive tackle Walter Jones appears imminent.
Coach Pete Carroll said Thursday night after the Seahawks took offensive tackle Russell Okung with the No. 6 pick in the NFL draft that an announcement about Jones was pending.
Jones, a six-time All-Pro, hasn't played since Thanksgiving Day 2008 and has undergone two major knee surgeries since. He's been rehabilitating and said after the 2009 season that he hoped for one more run with the only franchise he's ever played for.
But the tone from the Seahawks staff on Thursday indicated Jones has decided to step away. Offensive line coach Alex Gibbs, speaking about Okung, said the Oklahoma State star will be thrown in as the Seahawks starting left tackle immediately.
"He's going to fit good and he's going to be Walter (Jones') replacement, obviously. That's why he was picked," Gibbs said.
Jones has spent all 13 of his NFL seasons with Seattle after being the No. 6 pick in the 1997 draft. The nine-time Pro Bowler was the anchor to Seattle's offensive line for more than a decade.
Jones tried to return for training camp last summer, made it through a couple of practices, then had arthroscopic surgery on the knee in August. He later went on the injured reserve list. His pain has been exacerbated by a kidney condition diagnosed when he was a rookie that keeps him from taking anti-inflammatories to combat swelling and pain.
He said after the season ended that his knee felt good following months of rehabilitation in Florida but acknowledged his knee still had a way to go to get back to playing shape.
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