One more member of the ‘Fearsome Four’ is gone with the passing away of David Deacon Jones. During the 40’s, this term was used for the foursome of Merlin Olsen, Lamar Lundy, Deacon Jones, and Rosey Grier who made up the defensive front for Los Angeles Rams in the NFL. The unit now has the lone surviving member in Rosey Grier, and he was certainly devastated when he heard about the demise of Deacon Jones on Monday. Deacon is believed to have died of natural causes at his home. He was 74.
His death was read out in a statement by Bruce Allen who is the son of the man who coached Deacon Jones, George Allen. George taught the basics to Deacon while he was with rams and Redskins. Deacon was troubled by lung cancer and also suffered from various heart problems. N 2009, Deacon told reporters that he had undergone a lung surgery and also had a pacemaker fitted inside.
Deacon made headlines in the era that was dominated by offensive players. He was a product of an all black college and was inducted as a defensive quarterback. But his physique was so domineering that he glamorized the defensive play with his 6 feet 5 inches frame that was all of 270 pounds. He played for 14 seasons in the NFL and was known for his agility and strength.
Such was the dominance enjoyed by Deacon that opposing quarterbacks remained terrorized by his presence. He was selected in the All Pro team no less than 6 times and played 8 times in the Pro Bowls. He was a member of the all time great team selected by the members of media on the occasion of the 75th anniversary of NFL. During the winning season of 1963-64, the fearsome foursome played as a unit. The death of Deacon has left Roosevelt Grier as the lone survivor of the unit with Lundy passing away in 2007 while Olsen died in 2010.
Deacon was born on 9th December 1938 in Eatonville and studied in a black High School when he encountered an incident that made him work like a madman to escape from the segregation that was rampant in down south at that time. He recalled the incident in 2010 when he told that he was along with other black boys after the church service on a Sunday when he saw a group of white teenagers in a passing car who were laughing and threw a large watermelon at a black elderly lady on the road side. The melon hit the lady on the head and she fell down unconscious. Deacon says he ran after the car to catch the boys but could not match the speed of the car as those white boys sped away laughing. This one incident changed the life of small deacon who became determined to escape this racism. He chose a violent game like football as it allowed him to vent his anger.
Deacon is survived by his wife Elizabeth and a stepson Greg Pinto.