You see Jones is certainly the greatest Seahawk of all time. He is also certainly the greatest offensive lineman of his era. But it gets even crazier he might be the greatest NFL player of all-time. He was the best at what he did. The League and its fans have a greater appreciation for the position due to Jones.
Jones isn't the only Seattle icon that will be calling it quits this year though. Ken Griffey Jr (The best AL player of the 90s) will be done at some point this year. He also is a Seattle icon. If you think Mariners there are only two names that come to mind. Edgar and the Kid.
In all three cases the players started their careers with a Seattle team, and all three will end with Seattle as well.
But in Major League Soccer we have unique challenges. It is a league where good and great players move on to leagues in Europe. Average players rarely become icons. Landon Donovan, DeRo, Twellman, and Moreno are icons. But none are in Seattle. Keller is famous, but his stature has nothing to do with his time in Seattle.
There are a few players for the Sounders who could become that icon, but it would take a unique set of circumstances. First, it will take 3-4 years in Seattle at the start of their career and later a return for a few years as well. I don't think the Sounders are likely to keep a player for a decade. Maybe with the new DP rules that may change, but it is so hard to convince a player to forgo Europe and stay in Seattle, in a league that is doing so poorly in its continental championship that it has formed a committee to increase the chances of winning.
Currently the Sounders have a few players who could become this type of person. But it takes more than one good season. It takes years, and years, and years. It takes highlight reels.
Could Steve Zakuani become great? maybe, but would he really return to Seattle to end his career with a heart that lives in four different communities on three continents?
Osvaldo Alonso is a solid to great player as well. Could he define the the Defensive Midfielder in a way that even non-soccer fans appreciate it? Can he score enough? His language skills wouldn't be a problem. Jones never talked to the media. Griffey didn't really talk much either.
Can the Sounders ever have the type of player of a Walter Jones, a Griffey, an Edgar? Can they even have the next Landon Donovan?