David “Deacon” Jones, the Hall of Fame defensive end credited with terming the word “sack” for how he knocked down quarterbacks, has died. The Washington Redskins said that Jones died of natural causes at his home in Southern California on Monday night. He was 74.
“Deacon Jones was one of the greatest players in NFL history. Off the field, he was a true giant,” said Redskins general manager Bruce Allen, whose father, George, coached Jones with 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.”
Because sacks didn’t become an official statistic until 1982, Jones’ total is uncertain. His impact as a premier pass rusher and team leader is not.
“Even with his fellow Hall of Famers, Deacon Jones held a special status. He was an icon among the icons,” commissioner Roger Goodell tweeted Tuesday. “He is warmly regarded by his peers not only as one of the greatest players in history but also for his influence & sense of humor.”