David “Deacon” Jones Dies at 74

National Sports

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DAVID MAXWELL/AFP/Getty Images(NEW YORK) — NFL Hall-of-Fame defensive end David “Deacon” Jones died Monday at the age of 74.

The Washington Redskins learned from general manager Bruce Allen that Jones died of natural causes at his home in Southern California.

“Deacon Jones was one of the greatest players in NFL history. Off the field, he was a true giant,” said Allen, whose father, George, coached Jones on the Los Angeles Rams. “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.”

Jones was drafted in 1961 by the Los Angeles Rams and played 14 seasons in the NFL with the Rams, San Diego Chargers and Washington Redskins.

Jones played his first 11 seasons with the Rams, where he was part of a defensive line that included Merlin Olsen, Lamar Lundy and Rosey Grier. Those four were nicknamed “The Fearsome Foursome.”

Jones is credited with coming up with the phrase quarterback sack and was nicknamed the “Secretary of Defense.”

While the NFL didn’t officially keep track of sacks until 1982, the Rams’ media guide says Jones recorded a team-best 159.5 sacks with the Rams and 173.5 for his career.

Jones was elected to the NFL Hall-of-Fame in his first year of eligibility in 1980.

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