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Deacon Jones - 'Secretary Of Defense'
Deacon Jones - 'Secretary Of Defense' Making A Difference
David "Deacon" Jones is a living legend in every sense of the term.
Having already become a gridiron great on the football field, Jones has shifted his focus to giving back to young people. He is president and CEO of the Deacon Jones Foundation (http://www.deaconjones.com/), which "is committed to developing young, educated, talented, intelligent, accomplished people who understand their commitment to the inner-city communities from which they come, and have the tools and the desire to return," according to the foundation's Web site.
Jones was truly a pioneer during his time, using his speed and toughness to harass quarterbacks from his defensive end position. He revolutionized that position, so much so that he's credited with the term "sack" that today defines the success of defensive linemen. His personal accolades and honors are seemingly never-ending, but perhaps it's his absence in only five games over a 14-year NFL career that best represents how Jones played the game.
"I've had a heck of a life," Jones said, laughing.
While he could easily sit back and rest on the laurels he achieved as one of the best defensive ends of all-time, Jones has done the opposite since retiring from football. By using his personal story as a man who overcame hardships while living in a low-income area to become a Pro Football Hall of Famer, Jones is an inspiration to those less fortunate.
"Coming from a poor, inner-city neighborhood myself, I have an intimate knowledge of all of the problems people face there," Jones said on his Web site. "When kids from the ghetto enter college and the workplace, they don't know a thing about what they hear. And they are never told exactly what their commitment to their own neighborhoods must be."
Now approaching age 69, Jones has retired—in a sense. He, of course, doesn't put on the pads and helmet anymore, but hasn't shown many signs of slowing down with his foundation and work in the community.
"I retired two years ago from a lot of active stuff but I'm running my foundation and doing a lot of charity work," he said. "I have the Deacon Jones Foundation which is the inner-city scholarship program I run. I have different events all year, so I work those, then I help a lot of the other guys in the league who have programs. I still do some public appearances, but not too many anymore," he continued.
Jones, an outspoken and incomparable leader for the Los Angeles Rams, San Diego Chargers and Washington Redskins, had about as distinguished a career as a player can have. During his best years with the Rams, he garnered a couple nicknames that still stick to this day. Known as the "Secretary of Defense" and one-fourth of the "Fearsome Foursome," Jones was larger than life in many ways. His greatness was perhaps best summed up when Sports Illustrated named him the "Defensive End of the Century" in 1999.
Having been involved in football for so many years now, Jones' experience and knowledge is hard to match. If a former NFL player from his era didn't compete with or against Jones, he's likely met him somewhere along the line.
"I've been around a long time … I've been through all 41 Super Bowls and I've worked with NFL PLAYERS properties through all that time," Jones said while attending the NFL PLAYERS VIP Party in Miami.
"NFL PLAYERS is one of those outfits that I do a lot of work with," he said while mingling with other retired and current players. "I always like to come to their events and the people that I've met here I've known for a lot of years."
For Jones, what was the highlight of reuniting with fellow NFL legends?
"I enjoy seeing all the guys," Jones said while scanning the room for his friends and football brethren. "You come to these kinds of things, and guys you haven't seen in two or three years show up at one time or another. I always look forward to seeing what new person I'm going to see that I haven't seen in 25 or 30 years," Jones added.
Remembered for his quick moves and tenacity as an imposing defensive end, Jones was a two-time NFL Defensive Player of the Year and eight-time Pro Bowl selection. As can be expected of a 14th-round draft pick, his learning curve was steep when the Rams drafted him in 1961. But a fast adaptability coupled with a great desire to excel helped make the "Deacon of Defense" one of the game's immortals.
The lone missing accomplishment on Jones' résumé is an appearance in a Super Bowl. And while that doesn't define him, the Hall of Famer enjoyed watching the Indianapolis Colts—the team he picked to win because they have "too much offense"—prevail in Super Bowl XLI.
"Tony Dungy has done a heck of a job, and Lovie Smith (has) too," said Jones, who watched the game at home in the comfort of his living room. Having a deserved break from his travels and community appearances, Jones said he was happy to "sit on my big couch and watch the game in peace and contentment."
And with that, Jones smiled, paused briefly, and reflected on a legendary career and the next challenge he wants to sac
Re: Deacon Jones - 'Secretary Of Defense'
Another class act from the Rams.
Re: Deacon Jones - 'Secretary Of Defense'
'Class act' is correct, Keenum. :r
I appreciate you posting that remark on our great Deacon Jones, especially being a young Ram (if your age indicated is correct). Nice on your part.