The NFL Remembers Deacon Jones

Posted Jun 4, 2013

Many former and current Rams as well as coaches and even the Commissioner have offered some final words on the life and career of DE Deacon Jones, who passed away Monday evening at the age of 74.

Below is just a fraction of the outpouring of support from around the league. This page will be updated with more as we get it so feel free to check back.

Commissioner Roger Goodell

He was an icon among the icons. Even with his fellow Hall of Famers, Deacon Jones held a special status. He was a hard-charging football player and the original sack artist who coined the term. He is warmly regarded by his peers not only as one of the greatest players in NFL history but also for his tremendous influence and sense of humor. Deacon Jones will be missed but always remembered. Our heartfelt condolences go out to his wife Elizabeth and the entire Jones family.  

Rams C.O.O./Executive Vice President of Football Operations Kevin Demoff

“Deacon Jones was one of the rare players who changed the way the game was played. In this day and age, the term ‘great’ is often overused, but it only begins to describe Deacon Jones as a player and person. His combination of God-given talent and relentless effort made him one of the greatest players to ever put on an NFL uniform. His spirit, laughter and gentle nature off the field made him a friend to all. Deacon was a legend in every sense of the word, and he’ll truly be missed by the Rams, our fans and the NFL community. Our prayers are with Deacon’s wife Elizabeth on this sad day.”

Rams Head Coach Jeff Fisher

“Deacon Jones was one of the most prolific defenders ever to play the game of football.  His tenacity on the field, attitude, and his determination to ‘sack’ the quarterback propelled his Hall of Fame career and made him one of the most recognizable figures in sports.  Beyond the football field, Deacon was a well-respected ambassador for the Rams organization and a beloved person in the NFL community.  We are saddened by this loss and our thoughts and prayers are with his family.”

Rams Assistant Head Coach Dave McGinnis

It’s an icon in our league. Clearly it’s a tremendous loss, not only for members of the Rams organization but for the entire National Football League. Growing up, if you ever knew anything about football, you knew who the Fearsome Foursome was and you absolutely knew who Deacon Jones was. And that’s somebody who embodied the heart of the game, somebody who embodied the passion of the game and he was really an inspiration to a lot of young players that came after him just because of the passion he played this game with. Then for those of us who became involved in the league, you really begin to appreciate when you start really watching those guys and reading Jack Youngblood’s book and realize what was going on among those four. Those were four very special people who were not only special to each other on the field but they were special to each other off the field. Deacon Jones, if you know anything about the National Football League, everybody knows that that’s a name you associate with everything that is good and passionate about the NFL.

I knew who he was, was very ware of who he was. Then of course when we got here to the Rams and I have been in the league 28 years, I am very aware of the great history of this football team. And as I say, Deacon Jones not only embodied what the Rams were but he also embodied the passion of what the National Football League was, especially for defensive players.

Eric Dickerson

“Deacon was just a great guy.  For me when I think about the Rams, I think about Deacon Jones more than anyone else, more than myself.  Deacon epitomizes the Rams organization.”

“He was a force at the Hall of Fame.  Everyone looked up to him and even though we were all done playing he still gave off the feeling of “you aren’t getting in here unless you go through me.”  That’s where I’m really going to miss him – around the Hall of Fame”

“I mean, he coined the phrase “sacking the quarterback.”  I really don’t think anybody knows how many sacks he really had.”

On Deacon and the Fearsome Foursome

“It wasn’t just him, it was that whole group – the Fearsome Foursome became famous as a whole.  Not many teams or groups of players becomes famous like that.  People literally feared them”

“He will be sadly missed by all.  By me for sure.  I would drive up and see him in the hospital and just hang out and talk and take pictures.  It meant the world to me to just drive up and see him.”

About 9 months ago, Dickerson and Marcus Allen along with two other friends drove up and brought Deacon to brunch.

“Marcus and I and two others go to pick him up and bring him to brunch – the whole dang time Deacon was complaining about how far of a drive it was and  giving us a hard time. We all laughed quite a bit. Once we got to the restaurant he was okay with it.  And then I drove him all the way back home.  Looking back I am really glad I did that”

Jack Youngblood
“Deacon loved being a Ram. If you stop and think about it, Deacon changed the game of the National Football League. He changed how defensive linemen play the game. There will be no more like him. We’ve lost a brilliant icon of the game.”

Rosey Grier

On Deacon’s life as a whole

“Deacon is a good guy.  He fought and he ran well.  Life is that way, you make your choice on how you want to run and he ran well.  He didn’t try to cheat, he ran furiously and with all that he had.  He ran a hard race, he ran fair and he ran to win.”

On Fearsome Foursome

“Deacon was an incredible team guy and he always wanted to win, he wanted us all to run the race together.  We didn’t play run, we played pass and we all came off the ball together.  The whole point was to get in the backfield fast and mess everything up.  They couldn’t stop the Fearsome Foursome – we made a great contribution to the game of football.”

“He really was an impressive guy – tall, strong fast.  He ran full tilt and it was amazing to see him go like that for a whole game”

“Our hearts reach out to his family and friends.  We respect him not only for being there but because he was the “Deac”.  He always had something to say and I enjoyed being around him because of that – you had no idea what he was about to say.  Once you got to know him more you understood that’s just who he was and you respected him for it.”

Tom Mack

“Deacon was probably as great a player as I have been lucky enough to play with. He and Merlin Olsen were some of the best. He could rush the passer, be tenacious and intimidating. I had my share of practices against him and as ferocious as he could be, he was the greatest teammate. During a time when you needed leaders, black and white, Deacon was the guy that kept the team together and kept everyone focused on winning. He was a wonderful teammate and a wonderful person. I am going to miss him.”

Rams Owner/Vice-Chairman Chip Rosenbloom
'There never has been and there never will be a player like Deacon. Others will talk about his legacy on the field - it's already written and it's legendary. What I will always remember is Deacon the gentle man, the philosopher, the teacher, and the storyteller. Beyond losing a great player, the NFL and all its fans, lost a wise man with Deacon's passing. Our thoughts are with Deacon's family today - his beloved Elizabeth and his son Greg are in our hearts.'
Rams Owner/Chair of Community Outreach Lucia Rodriguez
“Deacon was larger than life with a heart to match. His legacy to the game is unquestioned. He will go down in history as one of the greatest football players to ever grace the gridiron.
“He had a fighting yet loving spirit. I will forever treasure the memories of many happy times spent with him.”
“Deacon, I miss you already...”

Rams LB James Laurinaitis

He was just a legend of a defensive lineman, a guy that was just larger than life with how good he was and kind of before his time with style of play and everything. I don’t know if he’d survive in today’s NFL just because he was so nasty. He’s a guy you heard legends about. I’m too young to have really been able to watch him but as far as having a legendary guy where I heard stories from my father and guys who were able to be blessed to watch him play, he was just dominate. I would say he’s arguably the most famous name of the Fearsome Foursome. He’s a legend and I’m sad to see him go.

He’s way up there. I try not to compare in my own mind different eras of players because I know me as a kid watching certain players play football is different than the guys back in the day. We all went through our own eras and he’s one of those guys that I think would have been successful no matter what era he played in. Tenacious D-linemen, that stuff doesn’t change. I have the utmost respect for him. The Rams organization lost a classic, a guy who was just a legend.

Rams DE Chris Long

I briefly got to speak to him and meet him. He was obviously one of the all time greats and what a full life to live. You can only hope to be able to do half those things that he was able to do in his lifetime. So I hope people were able to celebrate his life and be thankful that he played for the Rams and that he was able to wear the uniform we wear today. That’s pretty exciting for us as players.

All those guys (from the Fearsome Foursome to Jack Youngblood, etc) are awesome. In getting to meet him, especially getting to know Jack, I got to meet Merlin, I met Rosey, all those guys are class acts and they were awesome football players. Although it’s distant past, you definitely take pride in them having worn this uniform and this helmet. But the thing I liked about Deacon the most was that he seemed like a guy who would tell you how it was. That’s something we lack a lot in our game today and in sports today, in our world really. People don’t say what they mean and mean what they say and that’s what I like about Deacon. I think I will always remember that.