Walter Jones says he would still like "one last run" with the Seahawks in 2010, but the six-time All-Pro left tackle would understand if his only NFL team thinks he's finished.
"That's a decision the organization is going to have to make when all is said and done. All I can do is prepare," said Jones, who turns 36 this month and hasn't played in 14 months following two knee surgeries.
He said Monday that he thinks the Seahawks will decide early this offseason on whether he plays in 2010 for the only team he's known in his 13-year career.
Jones knows the Seahawks will be making many changes with a new general manager following consecutive losing seasons. A 36-year-old tackle who hasn't played since Thanksgiving Day 2008 following major knee surgery 13 months ago may not fit the needed rebuilding plan.
Asked whether he would try to play for another team should Seattle think by spring that its nine-time Pro Bowler and anchor to its offensive line since 1997 won't be ready next season, Jones chuckled and said: "They make that decision, then I'd have to weigh my other options."
"If it comes down to that, I have had a great career," he said. "And the reality is that if it's over, I can accept that."
When asked how would he handicap his chances of playing next season, the 6-foot-5, 350-plus-pound Jones said with a smile: "I don't know, man. I'm not a good golfer."
Jones spoke as he and his teammates packed away another losing season. Seattle is 9-23 since the start of the 2008 season, when Jones' left knee began to ache before major, microfracture surgery in December of that year. That cost him his first games due to injury since his rookie season of 1997.
This is the worst two-year stretch for the Seahawks since 1992-93. Without Jones, the offensive line has crumbled in front of battered quarterback Matt Hasselbeck. The heir to Jones, as selected by former GM and president Tim Ruskell, is Sean Locklear.
Locklear has been a disappointment when not injured, and last month coach Jim Mora singled out Locklear for needing to be tougher.
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 his knee "feels pretty good" following months of rehabilitation in Florida but acknowledged his knee "still has a long way to go" to get back to playing shape. The microfracture surgery in December 2008 drilled holes in the knee to regenerate cartilage. The general recovery time for that operation calls for running to begin by six months and a return to competition by nine months, a span that would have ended two days before this season's opener.
But few if any have had that surgery while in their mid-30s while needing to support about 350 pounds on a knee with holes drilled into it.
"I understand the whole thing about it. I understand my age, and what I'm coming back from," Jones said. "All I can do is prepare."