Was very sadden to learn that a true “Lion” of the game passed away yesterday. David “Deacon” Jones was the epitome of what defense was in the National Football League and the game of football “back in the day” when football was really football. Much will be written by others about his on the field exploits, I will miss yet always remember his booming voice whenever he was present.
When I was elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame new inductees attended a luncheon named after Green Bay Packers great Ray Nitschke with other Hall of Fame members. At the luncheon the new inductees could not speak, instead the seasoned members had the floor and shared with everyone in the room what the game of football and being a Hall of Fame member meant to them. I remember clearly how Deacon took the floor spoke with such passion as if he was in the confines of the locker room or in the huddle. He spoke of his love for the game but also of his love for his teammates and how he would do it all again in a heartbeat. From the tone of his voice I knew Deacon Jones the proud Lion loved the game but he also loved leaving a legacy for others like Reggie White or a Lawrence Taylor to strive to emulate on the football field.
I was proud to know that Deacon played at my alma mater South Carolina State where we played the same position, defensive end. I use to tease him that we probably wore the same number but it wasn’t until I wore the number that the school chose to retire the jersey. My teasing never got under his skin but he always had a good comeback to shut me up! I cherished every moment I spent with him and was very much honored to know him. Most important I am honored to be able to call David “Deacon” Jones my friend.
There is one thing my wife and I know for certain, wherever “Deacon” is right now we are certain that he is having a good time!