By Deacon Jones, Class of 1980
Special to Profootballhof.com
Editor's Note: Deacon Jones , the man who coined the term "sack," was one of the most devastating defensive ends ever to walk onto a football field. He faced Bob Brown six times as an opponent during his Hall of Fame career and practiced against him when they were teammates for two seasons with the Rams. Jones will be on stage as one of the many returning Hall of Famers who will take part in the August 8th enshrinement ceremony .
Well, as an opponent, Bob, you were probably the fiercest tackle I ever played against. You had a linebacker mentality.
You and I were also probably the only teammate combination that brought the news media out to watch us practice. We had such a vicious rivalry that they covered our one-on-one blocking and our one-on-one pass rushing just like they did the game.
You know, Bob, you were a man I always had to keep an eye on all the time. Because if you got beat, I could rest assured you were not going to stop, you'd come right back at us and do whatever it took to take me out. Bob, you were an excellent football player - there's no question about it. You had the attitude of a defensive player. And, you know, when you put those two combinations together on offense, you come up with a very, very good ball player. You were always mentally ready to play every week.
What's kind of unusual about this class is that Carl Eller's coming in with you - he's happens to be a very good friend of mine. But, I remember that I had to play Carl in practice if we were playing the Vikings. I had to face you and you were the type of guy who wanted to do things correctly. So, you always wanted to see the live picture - we went at live, whether we had pads on or didn't have pads on! And, I used to have play Carl Eller all week to give you the proper picture.
||Bob Brown, Tom Mack, Jackie Slater
||Deacon Jones, Merlin Olsen, Jack Youngblood |
||Doug Atkins, George Connor |
||Bill Willis |
||Forrest Gregg, Jim Ringo
||Willie Davis, Henry Jordan |
||Art Donovan, Gino Marchetti |
||Carl Eller, Alan Page |
||Joe Greene |
That's the only way we became great football players - we worked with our teammates. It was very good for me to have to battle a guy like Bob Brown in practice. It made my pass rushing situation that much better because you gave me the picture that helped me practice my skills to operate on Sunday.
I actually thought you should have been in the Hall a long time ago. But, you got a lot of players that people think that about. But, the fact of the matter is, having seen your game up close, and seen your attitude and your commitment to being a good ball player, I thought you were a Hall of Famer. Bob, I definitely welcome you into the Hall. I think the world of you -- you're a very nice man, tough, hard-nosed, and the kind of guy you want to go into battle with.
Well, all the guys I've seen in the past 25 years come into the Hall and felt they should have been in never mention that again. They're just happy to be a Hall of Famer. You see, you're a Hall of Famer, man! That shuts up every adversary - he can never say anything about your game except, 'he's a Hall of Famer.' And, that's the beauty of being in the Hall, you're above criticism, sort of speak, about your game. You deserve it, you should have had it a long time ago, and I'm very delighted that the Board of Selectors saw fit to bring you in at this time because I think that's the correct thing to do.
Bob, I'd like to welcome you and the entire Class of 2004. It's a marvelous class. I think the best thing I can say about this class is that you were all super football players and everyone deserves to be sitting here on the mountaintop and we're going to show you a great time.
P.S. - You've got 7½ minutes to give your speech, fit all that garbage into that!!
Editor's Note: Deacon regularly attends the Hall of Fame enshrinement ceremonies. Each year, he "offers" his plea to the new class to stay within the time limit allotted for their speeches so he doesn't have sit in the hot sun any longer than he has to.
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