Deacon Jones (born December 9, 1938 in Eatonville, Florida) nicknamed "Secretary of Defense" is an American athlete and actor. Jones played professional football, and is considered to be one of the greatest defensive ends of all time. Jones specialized in quarterback sacks, a term attributed to him. An extremely durable player, Jones missed only five games of a possible 196 regular-season encounters in his 14 NFL seasons. He is also noted for perfecting the so-called "head slap."
Jones had an obscure college career consisting of a year at South Carolina State University in 1958, followed by a year of inactivity and a final season at Mississippi Vocational College (since renamed Mississippi Valley State University) in 1960. He was drafted in the 14th-round of the 1961 draft by the Los Angeles Rams, and quickly blossomed into a top defensive end and, for most of a decade, he teamed with tackle Merlin Olsen to give Los Angeles a perennial All-Pro left side of the defensive line. The so-called "Fearsome Foursome" Rams defensive line of Lamar Lundy, Rosey Grier, Olsen and Jones is considered one of the best of all time.
Jones won unanimous all-league honors six straight years from 1965 through 1970. He was also in seven straight Pro Bowls, from 1965 to 1971, and was selected to an eighth in 1973. In 1967, Jones unofficially amassed 26 sacks in 14 games (the term "sack" had not yet been coined at the time, and official sack statistics were not recorded by the NFL until 1982).
In 1972, Jones was included in a multi-player trade with the San Diego Chargers where he was an instant success. He was named San Diego's defensive captain and lead all Chargers' defensive linemen in tackles and won a berth on the AFC Pro Bowl squad. He concluded his career with the Washington Redskins in 1974.
Throughout his career, Deacon was considered - by himself and his opponents - to be one of the toughest players in the league. In an interview with Kevin Jackson, Deacon once remarked, "I'm probably the toughest (expletive) here. Ain't no question about that with me. I'm the toughest guy here... I'm clean. I mean, I ain't got no marks on me. I don't know nobody else who can say that who came out of any sport. I ain't got no marks on me, so I've got to be the baddest dude I know of" .
Jones remains to be considered one of the greatest defensive players ever. The Los Angeles Times called Jones, "Most Valuable Ram of All Time," and former Rams head coach George Allen called him the "Greatest Defensive End of Modem Football." Additionally, Jones was named by Sports Illustrated as the "Defensive End of the Century" and was named to the NFL's 75 Year All Time Team. He was elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame in his first year of eligibility in 1980.
He also had a successful career as a television actor, and has appeared in numerous TV programs throughout the 1970s to the present time, usually appearing as himself.
Recently, Jones has traveled to Iraq to meet with troops stationed there and U.S. General Tommy Franks.
Jones currently serves as the president and CEO of the Deacon Jones Foundation, an organization he founded in 1997 "to assist young people and the communities in which they live with a comprehensive program that includes education, mentoring, corporate internship, and community service."