28 Oct 2009
Seahawks tackle Walter Jones has been placed on injured reserve, thanks to continued pain from the microfracture procedure on his knee.
It goes without saying that his absence doesn't bode well for Jones's chances of playing well as an effective NFL tackle again (if he even wants to return). I can't find an offensive lineman in our "DVOA Era" database that missed an entire season at Jones's age of 35 and ever returned to the league.
I found seven players who were linemen at that age who clearly missed time due to injury. The list includes Lomas Brown, Ruben Brown, Dermontti Dawson, Kevin Glover, John Jackson, Dave Szott, and Richmond Webb.
Of those seven, Lomas Brown, Glover, Jackson, and Szott all returned after their injury. None played a full season. Brown started ten games for the Super Bowl Buccaneers, Glover made it through six starts for the Seahawks, and Szott started 15 games for the Jets. Jackson was a backup for a 6-10 Bengals team that started, ironically enough, a 34-year-old Webb at Jackson's left tackle spot.
None of the four ever played an NFL game again.
That doesn't preclude Jones from returning; none of the players we mentioned had Jones's athleticism. But for a player who is financially set for life and likely to return to a team in the process of rebuilding, it's hard to envision Jones making a comeback. Even if he does, it's likely to be short-lived.
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Guest columnist Zachary O. Binney looks the effects of the removal of the "Probable" designation from the NFL's official injury reports.