Rest in peace, Deacon.
The intimidating stare. The the nasty attitude towards quarterbacks. The head slap. All of these and more are part of what we remember of Deacon Jones, the former Ram who was reported dead late Monday night, per Brian Tinsman, Redskins.com.
Jones is largely considered to be the greatest defensive player of all time, and for good reason. He had a pretty obscure collegiate career, but after being drafted in the 14th round (yup, drafts used to be that long, kids) of the 1961 draft, Jones went on to have an illustrious professional career highlighted by his fearsome pass-rushing ability and ferociousness across the line of scrimmage.
He was also one-fourth of what was arguably the greatest defensive line in league history, the Fearsome Foursome.
Jones led his team in tackles, and was also named a defensive captain for the Bolts. He ended his legendary career with the Washington Redskins.
Deacon only missed five games in 14 seasons, and was also voted the NFL’s Defensive Player of the Year twice. You won’t find much (if anything) of Jones in the record books when it comes to sacks because they weren’t a recorded stat until 1982, but he is still credited with coming up with the term.
To a lot of people, Jones was just a football player, and a great one at that. But, to many others, he was much more, and not just for what he did on the field.
Jones did dip his toe in the acting and broadcasting pools for a bit, but his most admiral off-the-field accolade comes in the form of a good cause.
The Deacon Jones Foundation is a group that helps develop kids from inner-city schools to succeed and become leaders in their society. The foundation gives a chance to kids who aren’t afforded the same opportunities as more fortunate children.
No. 75 was an amazing player throughout his entire career, and was consequently selected to the NFL Hall of Fame in 1980. In 2009, the St. Louis Rams retired his jersey number, solidifying his legacy even more.
Heaven just got a helluva pass-rusher. Rest peacefully, Deacon.