The NFL lost a true legend of the game on Monday evening when Hall of Fame defensive end David “Deacon” Jones passed away from natural causes at age 74. Washington Redskins general manager and former colleague of Jones announced the new to the team who then passed along word via the Redskins official Twitter account.
— Redskins (@Redskins) June 4, 2013
Jones had an illustrious career with the Los Angeles Rams as a member of the Fearsome Foursome where he played a total of ten seasons with the team. He etched his name into football lore with his style of play, which is one that many still consider to this day to be the most dominant style ever seen in the history of the game. When Ndamukong Suh was getting heat for his aggressive style of play, many people cited Deacon Jones and his trademark helmet slap as an example of something Suh might do if the game hadn’t changed so much between the days Deacon Jones played in and the age we are in today.
But Jones did so much more than simply rough opponents up, he terrified them and revolutionized a entirely new brand of pain that defenses now regularly play with. He’s been credited with being grandfather of the sack masters we see in the game today. Before Jones defensive ends weren’t particularly special but once he got a chance to prove himself, Jones used his insane speed and his and what would today be defined as hybrid player that probably could have played outside linebacker in the right defense today.
After his career he dabbled in broadcasting and was as wide spread in his post-football activities as he was during his playing days. He never stood too far away from the game he became so engrained in and was always proud of what he helped bring to football. Kids today may not know his name but when they watch the game as it’s played today they’re seeing Deacon Jones in every blinding fast defensive end like Jared Allen that dominates his position.
That’s the cool thing about football. Deacon Jones is no longer with us, but he’s immortal in every generation of football. The game wouldn’t be the same without him and it’s likely going to be a little less now that he’s gone.