David "Deacon" Jones, the original sackmaster, has died. The Hall of Fame defensive end credited with terming the word sack, for how he knocked down quarterbacks, was 74. The Washington Redskins said that Jones died of natural causes at his home in Southern California last night. "Deacon Jones was one of the greatest players in NFL history," said Redskins general manager Bruce Allen, whose father, George, coached Jones with the Los Angeles Rams. "I will always consider him my big brother."
Because sacks didn't become an official statistic until 1982, Jones' total is uncertain. His impact as a premier pass rusher and team leader is not: Jones was the leader of the Rams' famed Fearsome Foursome unit from 1961 to 1971, made the Pro Bowl every year from 1964 to 1970, and was named to the league's 75th anniversary all-time squad. Jones was also one of the most durable players, missing just five games in his 14 pro seasons. Beyond football, he had several small acting roles, appearing in episodes of Bewitched, The Brady Bunch, and The Odd Couple, along with Warren Beatty's film Heaven Can Wait. In 1997 he started his own charitable foundation, and made several trips to visit troops in the Middle East.