NFL Hall of Fame defensive end David “Deacon” Jones died on Monday, June 4 at the age of 74. Jones will be most remembered for his outstanding NFL career, where he made a living out of putting quarterbacks in the dirt. Sacks, a term Jones is credited with coining, were not an official statistic when he played in the 1960s, but had they been, he would currently rank third overall. And he hasn’t played in over 40 years.
Before he took the NFL by storm, Jones was another young Black athlete from the South who was not recruited by majority schools. While today, Florida, Miami and Florida State would probably be fighting for him on a daily basis, Jones probably never even thought twice about those schools. That just wasn’t a reality in the South of the 1950s. Perhaps that’s what drove him to put those quarterbacks, all of whom were white, in the ground with such furor…the fact that he could have done it in college.
“I never went to school with a Caucasian. The first time I hit one without the police coming after me was in the pros. I will never forget that. That rings in my mind every day.”
-Deacon Jones, Black College Football Hall of Fame Speech