NFL Hall of Fame player Deacon Jones dies at 74

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Deacon Jones, considered one of the greatest defensive players in NFL history, died of natural causes in his Southern California home. He was 74 years old at the time of his death.

David "Deacon" Jones" played professional football for the Los Angeles Rams, the San Diego Chargers and the Washington Redskins for 14 seasons between 1961 and 1974. Nicknamed the "Secretary of Defense," Jones was known for specializing in quarterback sacks -- he is even considered the originator of that term.

A 14th-round draftee by the Los Angeles Rams in 1961, Jones immediately became part of one of the best defensive lines in NFL history, the "Fearsome Foursome," along with Merlin Olsen, Rosey Grier and Larry Lundy.

During his football career, Deacon Jones won All-Pro honors annually between 1965 and 1968, plus 8 Pro Bowl honors and two honors as the NFL's Defensive Player of the Year.
The player continued to receive accolades even after his NFL career ended. Jones was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1980. Later, he was named to the NFL's 75th Anniversary All-Time Team and as the Sports Illustrated "Defensive End of the Century."

In an obituary posted on the Redskins website, the team's current general manager George Allen eulogized the team's former player. "Deacon Jones was one of the greatest players in NFL history. Off the field, he was a true giant. His passion and spirit will continue to inspire those who knew him," Allen said. "He was cherished member of the Allen family and I will always consider him my big brother."

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