The St. Louis Rams announced Friday that the team will wear a commemorative decal on its helmets throughout the 2013 season in honor of Hall of Fame defensive end Deacon Jones, who passed away in June.
In addition, several members of Jones’ family will be recognized on the field at the Edward Jones Dome during the Rams’ 2013 season opener against the Arizona Cardinals on Sept. 8.
“Deacon Jones was a legend who was cherished by generations of NFL fans and players,” Rams Executive Vice President of Football Operations/C.O.O. Kevin Demoff said. “Our team is proud to wear his number on our helmets throughout the season to honor his meaning to this organization.”
The black, round decal will be placed on the back of each players’ helmet. It features the team’s charging Ram head logo on top of Jones’s jersey number 75, which was retired by the team in 2009.
"David Jones joined the Rams in 1961 and was reborn Deacon Jones - the best, most intimidating and tenacious defensive player ever to play in the NFL,” the Jones Family said. “From that first day in training camp to this day, more than five decades later, our family and the Rams' family - all of the players, owners, employees and, of course, our fellow fans - have been one and the same. We deeply appreciate this dedicated season, a fitting tribute to a man whose efforts on and off the field helped make the Rams what they are today and forever changed the way the game is played. Thank you, all."
Jones, who coined the term “sack the quarterback,” played for the Rams from 1961-71. He was nicknamed the Secretary of Defense and was widely considered as one of the greatest defensive players to play the game. The NFL announced this spring that starting this season, the league will honor the NFL’s sack leader with the Deacon Jones Award each year.
While sacks didn’t become an official record until 1982, unofficial accounts of Jones’ totals show that few players in NFL history attacked opposing quarterback with his vigor. Jones recorded a team-best 159.5 sacks with the Rams and 173.5 for his career. He registered 26 sacks during the 1967 season and added six more during the postseason. He had 24 sacks in 1968 and reached double-digit sack totals seven times, including three 20-sack seasons.
Jones was elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1980.