Last night on the NFL Network former Tampa Bay Buccaneer Warren Sapp joined fellow Hall of Famer Bruce Smith and former head coach Dick Vermeil to reflect on the death of Eatonville, Florida native, Deacon Jones.
Sapp on Jones:
“Deacon Jones for me is an absolute institution. Growing up in Orlando, you heard about the stories of Deacon Jones from Eatonville, Florida running down running backs, running down wide receivers as a defensive lineman. And then you hear the stories of the head slap, helmets ringing inside of stadiums all the way to the top of them. Deacon Jones signified what it was to be a great warrior on the defensive line, up front, all day long. Pack a lunch if Deacon was coming because it was going to be an all-day affair and he was going to tell you about it too. I kind of patterned my game after him because if you can talk that talk and walk that walk, then you can stand beside Deacon. He was the best.”
Bruce Smith on Deacon Jones’ legacy to football:
“Not only to coin the term ‘sack,’ but just his personality of being a defensive lineman; his charisma and his presence. When he walked into the room, he commanded respect, whether it was on the playing field or his choice of words. This is going to be a great loss for all of the football nation, the fans and particularly those who loved him dearly like myself.”
You can view all of Smith’s comments on Jones here.
Dick Vermeil – former NFL head coach on his favorite memory of Deacon Jones:
“I have a lot of them; some of them take a little time to tell. He was such a vibrant personality, just a character, and obviously a great, great player; a trendsetter and a guy that actually formed the mold of what a great pass rusher was supposed to be and play like. But he was a character. He was not one of these guys that was a weight trainer. I can remember that Roman Gabriel used to challenge him to a bench press and Roman would beat him, and Roman was our quarterback. Deacon was not one of those offseason training guys; he would come to training camp and he would go to work, and he got himself in training camp like a lot of the old-timers did in the old days. But once he got there he would really go to work. He was a lot of fun to be around.”
You can view all of Vermeil’s comments on Jones here.