Deacon Jones, a man who helped define what it means to be a great defensive player in the NFL, passed away on Monday at the age of 74.
His death was announced by the Washington Redskins through their general manager, Bruce Allen, whose father, George Allen, coached Jones with the Rams and Washington Redskins.
He had been treated for lung cancer and heart problems, The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported in September 2009. Jones told the newspaper then that he had undergone lung surgery and had a pacemaker installed the previous May. (via NY Times)
Jones’ accomplishments on the field, as part of the Rams’ “Fearsome Foursome” or by himself, are unbelievable. Seriously, look at this:
Rated #15 NFL Player of all-time by NFL.com
8× Pro Bowl selection (1964, 1965, 1966, 1967, 1968, 1969, 1970, 1972)
5× First-team All-Pro selection (1965, 1966, 1967, 1968, 1969)
3× Second-team All-Pro selection (1964, 1970, 1972)
NFL 75th Anniversary All-Time Team
NFL 1960s All-Decade Team
2× NFL Defensive Player of the Year (1967, 1968)
Rams Rookie of the Year award (1961)
Unofficially holds the two highest season sack totals (26-1967) and (24-1968)
St. Louis Rams #75 Retired
Pro Football Hall of Fame Inductee
And just like the late Alex Karras, Jones’ success on the field made him a success in popular culture. I knew him first as the football star who showed up on ‘The Brady Bunch’ to tell Peter it’s okay to be in glee club AND play football. He also made guest appearances on everything from ‘Bewitched’ and ‘Wonder Woman’ to ‘ALF.’ He was also a blue singer, and fronted the band that would eventually become War.
Deacon Jones was an icon, and innovator, a great player and an important piece of football history. He’ll be missed.