Bates didn’t take the bait

The media reaction to Jeremy Bates’ comments about Walter Jones was interesting.

The word “mum” was used in one headline, while another said the Seahawks’ new offensive coordinator “won’t discuss” the team’s in-limbo All-Pro left tackle.

That wasn’t exactly the case Tuesday, when Bates met with reporters who cover the team for the first time since being hired last month. Bates talked about Jones, he just wouldn’t join the speculation about whether the best left tackle of his generation would return after sitting out last season following microfracture surgery on his left knee in December of 2008.

Fair enough, because it’s not Bates’ place to be pontificating about the situation. His job title is offensive coordinator, not head coach or general manager – and he’s a first-year NFL O.C. at that.

Here’s what Bates did say about Jones:

Q: How are you approaching the Walter Jones situation, especially in terms of needing a strong left tackle?

A: “Well, first of all, in my short career in the NFL, he’s the best left tackle I’ve ever seen play the game. The guy is so smooth and patient, and to have him play left tackle is something special because you don’t even have to think about who that stud defensive end is. You just say, ‘Walter’s got him.’

“I haven’t met him, of course, but I’ve watched film him on film. I remember sitting in with the offensive line the one year I worked in Denver with them. And when Walter Jones would show up, they’d all go, ‘Ohhh, look at that!’ They wouldn’t even watch the defense, and we were supposed to be watching defense. They were watching him. He’s just so special. He’s one of a kind.

“But left tackle is extremely important. We’re not going to get involved with what route we’re going. All I know is that he’s been a special Seahawk for a long time.”

Pete Carroll, the team’s first-year head coach, has said a decision on Jones’ status for 2010 needs to made sooner rather than later as the club moves toward the start of free agency on March 5 and continues to prepare for the NFL draft in April.

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