David “Deacon” Jones, football Hall of Famer and defensive end credited with coining the term “sack,” has died at the age of 74.
According to the Washington Redskins, Jones passed away from natural causes in his home in Southern California on Monday night. Redskins general manager Bruce Allen reacted to the news as well, saying:
”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.”
Allen’s father, George, coached Jones with the Los Angeles Rams.
Jones’ legacy is greater than just coining the term “sack,” as he is also remembered as a premium pass rusher and team leader. His official number of “sacks” is unknown, as they didn’t become an official football statistic until 1982.
Among his other accomplishments, Jones led the Rams’ Fearsome Foursome unit between 1961 and 1971, played for San Diego for two seasons, and finished his career with the Redskins in 1974. He was finally inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1980.
Many on Twitter have expressed their grief after learning of David “Deacon” Jones’ death.
Just waking up here in LA to the news of the great Deacon Jones passing. One of the coolest, most entertaining dudes I ever met. RIP #legend
— Jay Glazer (@JayGlazer) June 4, 2013
RIP Deacon Jones. The original “Sack Master”
— Justin Tuck (@JustinTuckNYG91) June 4, 2013
RIP to my friend, mentor and idol Mr. Deacon Jones. Was always there for me from the beginning and led the way for all if us DE’s! #headslap
— Michael Strahan (@michaelstrahan) June 4, 2013
Following his football career, Jones turned his attention to other pursuits, including a foundation to help inner-city youths.
“Some people see players as heroes, and that’s ridiculous,” he said in 2007. “I played in a brutal game, but it was a business.”
He is survived by his wife, Elizabeth, a stepson and a grandson.
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