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Deacon Jones Passes Away

David Maxwell

The man that many, to this day, still consider to be the greatest pass rusher in National Football League history has passed away.

David "Deacon" Jones played fourteen seasons in the National Football League, eleven of those coming with the Los Angeles Rams. A fourteenth-round selection in the 1961 NFL Draft out of Mississippi Vocational College (now known as Mississippi Valley State University, which also produced Jerry Rice), Jones terrorized offenses across the league for his entire career. He, along with Rosie Greer, Lamar Lundy, and Merlin Olsen made up the "Fearsome Foursome," the defensive line that created nightmares for quarterbacks across the league during the 1960s.

The quarterback sack was not an official stat when Jones came into the league, and was basically developed just for him. Nobody knows for sure how many sacks he accumulated during his career, but the unofficial total has him at 194.5, which would still rank him third all-time today. How awesome a pass rusher was he? In 1967, he was unofficially credited with 26 sacks (in 14 games). Then, in 1968, he followed it up with 24 more. Those were two of his four seasons with 20 or more unofficial sacks, as he accomplished the feat in 1963 and 1964 as well.

After his career in football, Jones got into acting. Strangely enough, he played. . .get this. . .a Viking named Thall in a 1978 movie called The Norseman. He was in the movie with another NFL star, Oakland Raiders receiver Fred Biletnikoff. And YouTube just happens to have the entire movie, if you'd like to give it a watch.

Jones was also in the classic Heaven Can Wait, and made an appearance on the 80s TV show ALF, among other things. Jones died of natural causes at his home in California at the age of 74.

Our condolences go out to the friends and family of Deacon Jones.

For more on the life and times of Deacon Jones, be sure to check out our Rams site, Turf Show Times.