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Hall of Fame defensive end Deacon Jones, who coined the term sack during a 14-year career, died on June 3. In addition to football, the 6'5", 272-pound Jones sang, acted and was active in charity.
Fran Tarkenton (Hall of Fame quarterback, Vikings and Giants) He was a freak of nature. He was tall, he was lanky, he was strong, he was the fastest guy on their team. I would imagine Deacon in his prime ran a 4.6 40, maybe a 4.5.
Rayfield Wright (Hall of Fame tackle, Cowboys) He was a pioneer. The head slap he used was something I don't think any other player used. I was watching film and I saw him head-slap an offensive tackle and his helmet came off.
Tarkenton When we would run a reverse, the quarterback was the lead blocker. The first time I [blocked] Deacon, I rolled on the ground and derailed him for about a second. He just broke up laughing. That was Deacon. No trash talking. We talked and giggled. But never trash talking.
Wright He was the first player I ever faced as an offensive tackle. On the first play the ball was going to be snapped on two. After [quarterback Roger Staubach] said the first hut, there's a little pause. And then there was a voice that came out to me, "Boy, do yo' mama know you out here?" He had a heavy voice.
Howard Scott (member of the Night Shift, which became the popular band War) He wasn't a baritone, like my voice. Rosie Grier probably had a better singing voice, but Deacon had a lot of energy. We first hooked up with him [around 1968] after he recorded a song called "Lovin' a Pro." We did shows behind him at a club in North Hollywood called Rag Doll. The whole Rams crew was in the audience. We had a hot band behind him. He was dancing around the stage like nobody's business. I was impressed with Deacon as an entertainer.
Jim Bracken (former child actor, current golf coach at Cal State Northridge) I did three Brady Bunch episodes, and I was always a teasing bully. It was a football episode where Peter was in the boys' glee club. So we make fun of him, call him "songbird" and "canary." Then Deacon came out to our practice and said, "Hey, I sing. It's cool to sing." I was a big Rams fan growing up in L.A. I remember he was having a hard time remembering his lines. He joked, "We played the Vikings yesterday, and my head is still ringing." He was really nice to all the kids.
Wright Staubach said the second hut, and I was still in my stance, thinking about why he was asking me about my mama. He came across the line of scrimmage and hit me with that head slap because I wasn't prepared for it and knocked me on my rear end. He was the greatest defensive end in all of football. He was a friend, an amazing player and an amazing individual.