Good morning, NFC West.
We are going to remember and appreciate former Los Angeles Rams defensive end David "Deacon" Jones' career on this day following his passing at age 74.
Around the NFC West: June 4, 2013
The NFL calendar pauses long enough for reflection at this time of year, which is great because Jones' legend demands it.
"Secretary of Defense" was Jones' nickname even though the eight-time Pro Bowl choice had no use for diplomacy. He head-slapped opposing offensive linemen on his way to the quarterback and personally coined the term "sack" -- years before the NFL began tracking the stat in 1982. The way he explained the term in a 2009 Los Angeles Times piece was vintage Jones.
"You take all the offensive linemen and put them in a burlap bag, and then you take a baseball bat and beat on the bag," Jones said. "You're sacking them, you're bagging them. And that's what you're doing with a quarterback."
Jones combined with fellow Hall of Famer Merlin Olsen on the left side of the Los Angeles Rams' Fearsome Foursome line also featuring Lamar Lundy and Rosey Grier.
I would encourage you to check out his Hall of Fame induction speech, preserved on the Hall's website in an audio file. Jones spoke of his road to the NFL and his personal philosophy. His comments provide some framework for his career and approach.
"Violence in its many forms is an involuntary quest for identity," Jones said then. "When our identity is in danger, we feel certain that we have a mandate for war. In 1957, David Jones, a tough, unwavering, outspoken student from the predominantly black South Carolina State College, declared his own private war against the racial injustices that were prevalent at that time, the inadequacies facing him in education, in sports and in business and launched his own campaign of aggression against a group of society that would spark his persistence and determination to reinforce his identity for many years to come."
Jones' identity is secure.
"There has never been a better football player than Deacon Jones," Olsen said in that 2009 Los Angeles Times piece.