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OCPS's Deacon Jones

Deacon Jones

NFL Defensive Great Home-grown in OCPS
NFL Defensive Great Home-grown in OCPSOCPS alumnus David “Deacon” Jones was born in Eatonville, Fla., where his parents ran a barbecue stand. He attended Hungerford High School and played football, baseball and basketball. Jones graduated in 1957 and began his college football career at South Carolina State University.

While there, he became active in the civil rights movement, and the university revoked his scholarship. In 1960, Jones was recruited by Mississippi Vocational College, now Mississippi Valley State University.

In 1961, the Los Angeles Rams selected Jones in the 14th round of the NFL Draft. He quickly became a dominant defensive end and part of the Rams’ “Fearsome Foursome” defensive line, along with Lamar Lundy, Rosey Grier and Merlin Olsen. Jones is known as one of the greatest pass rushers in NFL history and is credited with coining the term “sacking the quarterback,” which eventually became an official statistic in the NFL record books.

Deacon Jones PhotosInducted into the NFL Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1980, Jones played 14 seasons as a defensive end for the Los Angeles Rams (1961- 1971), San Diego Chargers (1972-1973) and Washington Redskins (1974). Jones’ honors include earning eight Pro Bowl selections, being named to the NFL’s 75th Anniversary All-Time Team in 1994 and being ranked in the top 20 of “The Sporting News” list of the 100 Greatest Football Players (1999).

In the same year, “Sports Illustrated” named Jones the “Defensive End of the Century.” He also was named the “Secretary of Defense” by Los Angeles fans, the “Most Valuable Ram of All Time” by the Los Angeles Times, and the “Greatest Defensive End of Modern Football” by Coach George Allen. During his 14-year career, Jones missed only five games.

Off the field, Jones spent some time as an actor, making appearances in “The Brady Bunch,” “Bewitched” and other television shows. He released his autobiography, “Headslap: The Life and Times of Deacon Jones” in 1996.

The following year, he and his wife established the Deacon Jones Foundation to assist young people and the communities in which they live. The foundation was a way for Jones to pay homage to his upbringing, while also providing opportunities for youth that he wasn’t afforded while growing up. Jones served as the foundation president and CEO until his passing in 2013.

Jones was inducted into the OCPS Hall of Fame posthumously in 2017.
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