Legendary Orlando football player David 'Deacon' Jones died Monday evening at his home in Southern California. He was 74. Reports are that he died of natural causes.
Jones, who played at Eatonville's Hungerford High School prior to integration of Orlando city schools, was a member of the renowned Los Angeles Rams' Fearsome Foursome, with Merlin Olsen, Rosey Grier and Lamar Lundy, on his way to the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
An obscure 14th-round draft in pick in 1961, Jones came out of Mississippi Valley State (then called Mississippi Vocational College) to the NFL, and would later be tagged the "Secretary of Defense." He also is credited with inventing the term "sack." Jones missed only six games in his 14 NFL seasons.
Jones was also credited with perfecting the old defensive move termed the "head slap," which was outlawed by the NFL. It is the name of his biography, "Headslap: The Life and Times of Deacon Jones."
He was traded to the Chargers in a somewhat controversial move at the time for a linebacker named Jeff Staggs and three draft picks. The Rams sent Jones, defensive tackle Gene Wojcik and running back Lee White to the Chargers and gave up the No. 2 selection in the 1972 college draft and a second and third selection in the 1973 draft.
Jones had a stellar two seasons with the Chargers, just like his previous years with the Rams.
He was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1980 and was also named to the league's 75th anniversary team.
Jones started his college career at South Carolina State, but his scholarship was pulled when officials learned he was an active member of the civil rights movement in 1957. He ended up at Mississippi Valley State when a former SCSU coach brought him and other former SCSU players onboard.
He was born December 9, 1938, in Eatonville.Copyright © 2015, The Baltimore Sun