Deacon Jones: football’s most feared sackmaster

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The Redskins said Jones died of natural causes. In 2009, he told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch he had undergone lung surgery and received a pacemaker. That year, the Rams retired his jersey number, 75.

As for that nickname, well, when Jones joined the Rams out of Mississippi Valley State as a 14th-round draft pick in 1961, he wanted to make himself memorable. Eventually, he’d do so every game on the field, terrorizing blockers, runners and passers.

At first, though, he believed he needed to stand out on the roster.

“No one would remember a player named David Jones _ there are a thousand David Joneses in the phone book,” he said. “I picked out Deacon because it has a religious connotation and it would be remembered in the violent pro football world. When the Rams sent out my player questionnaire, I simply listed my name as Deacon Jones. From then on, that’s what I was.”

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