There was a question about whether Deacon Jones or George Allen was more euphoric after his former coach read that the onetime "secretary of defense" for the Los Angeles Rams was elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
"Boy, oh, boy!" Allen said on the telephone from Palos Verdes, Calif., "He was dynamite. Nobody excelled him in rushing the passer.Yes, that takes in Gino Marchetti (Hall of Famer from the Baltimore Colts)."
Jones maintained a nice blend of candor and cool on the phone from his home in Inglewood, Calif. "I'm very elated," said the veteran of several television skits. "It couldn't have happened to a nicer guy.
"George (Allen) started it all. Everything I have accomplished I owe to him. He prepared me so that I knew when the other team was going to run or pass. That gave me the edge, a half-step start.
"I spoke to George today. I am saving as a surprise that fact that he is going to be my presenter at the Hall of Fame; it couldn't be anybody else. For this to happen in my first year of eligibility made it better.
"I like to think I added some creativity to the position of defensive end. I incorporated the head slap (now outlawed). I was down to 218 in 1968, but I used speed and finesse to avoid the usual shoving and pushing match with the big guys. I was able to because of fantastic upper body strength, quickness of hands, and intensity even though I was double and triple-covered.
"I gave the position some publicity. I gave the fans a good reason to cheer for defensive linemen -- rushing the passer with flair -- getting the passer five yards behind the line of scrimmage."
He said that it was the need for personal publicity that accounted for his nickname.
"I needed a handle," Jones, a 14th-round pick from South Carolina State, said. "I needed to be different, so I gave myself the nickname of Deacon. You look in a telephone directory and there are at least 25 David Joneses."
Why did he last until the 14th round?
"It was the times. In 1961 NFL teams were not scouting black colleges like they are now. The Rams could hide information on me and wait until a later round. There was no noise about me; there weren't 15 to 20 teams scouting me. I think I should have a No. 1 pick.
"You don't come out of a small black school and make good right away, but I proved myself in my first training camp. They tried you both ways those days and I opened the season as an offensive tackle against Defensive end) Ordell Braase of the Colts.
"Gene Brito, who had been a Redskins defensive end before joining the Rams, was stricken then with an illness that was to take his life, and I became the left defensive end.
"In 1967-68, under George, we had the best defensive line ever -- the Fearsome Foursome, the most vicious, strongest and fastest, across the board (Jones at left end, Merlin Olsen at left tackle, Roger Brown at right tackle and Lamar Lundy at right end).
"I don't think any lineman in the league could outrun me. I could outrun most backs; every Ram back until Clancy Williams joined us. I could run 40 yards in 4.5 seconds."
Jones is now community relations manager for a beer firm in Los Angeles. He was asked if he would like to coach.
"I'll put it this way -- I've always had aspirations about teaching. I know I could teach. I wouldn't mind getting back into football and learning, in the general manager area. I have been in the corporate world, as high as vice president. I have good corporate ability and I am a good organizer.
"I could coach. It's about time there was a black coach or general manager in the NFL. I want to be a general manager. I don't care where I start, as long as I have the same opportunity as the next guy I know I'll win. I don't mind paying the price.
"Nobody has approached me, but they will. If they don't I'll be like Mahomet -- if the mountain doesn't come to him, he'll go to the mountain. Take out the name Mahomet and put in Deacon."