The NFL lost one of greats last night. David ”Deacon” Jones died last night of natural causes in his home. Jones was credited with the word sack from his tough play and the way he brought down opposing quarterbacks.
He played defensive end for the Los Angeles Rams, San Diego Chargers, and the Washington Redskins. He was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1980.
Redskins general manager Bruce Allen, whose father George coached Jones said, ”Deacon Jones was one of the greatest players in NFL history. Off the field, he was a true giant. His passion and spirit will continue to inspire those who knew him. He was a cherished member of the Allen family and I will always consider him my big brother.”
Former Jones teammate Jack Youngblood said, ”Deacon Jones has been the most inspirational person in my football career.”
Since sacks were not counted in the NFL until 1982 Jones is “unofficially” credited with 173 1/2 in his outstanding career. Not only was he great at his position, but he was also durable. He only missed five games in his 14 pro seasons. Jones made the Pro Bowl every year from 1964 to 1970 and played in eight overall. Jones was also the first defensive lineman with 100 solo tackles, reaching that mark in 1967.
Not that many teams saw his potential since he was drafted in the 14th-round back in 1961. He played for Mississippi Valley State. Yet he proved his worth as soon as he got into the league.
”The thing we’ve got to remember being players in this era is to really respect the game `back when,’ because those guys could really play,” said Chris Long of the Rams, ”Deacon Jones is a perfect example. This whole league and everybody in this game should honor the past and the players who played in that era. Those guys paved the way for us.”
Even after his career Jones was very active in his community and worldwide. He was the CEO of his own foundation and made several trips to visit troops on active duty in the Middle East. He was also in a few TV shows and films like “The Brady Bunch.”