Strahan remembers Deacon Jones

June, 4, 2013
6/04/13
5:26
PM ET
Like the rest of the NFL world, Michael Strahan mourned the passing of David "Deacon" Jones on Tuesday.

Strahan considered Jones a close friend and mentor. Jones died on Monday night at 74.

"I was shocked, because he was one of those guys you never thought would die," Strahan told Giants.com. "He had that energy about him."

Strahan credits Jones with being "the founding father of defensive ends."

Jones, a Hall of Famer, is not listed among career sacks leaders since the stat did not become official until 1982. But Jones used to put on a full assault on quarterbacks.

"Deacon coined the term 'sack,'" Strahan said. "Deacon made the position glamorous, which was hard to do. Quarterbacks are glamorous –- not defensive linemen... until Deacon Jones came along."

"He was fun to watch, because he was long and lanky," Strahan later added. "You have a lot of players who play the game who do what other players have done. But Deacon did things that people hadn’t done before. He made them outlaw something [his head slap move] that he did. He found another way to get better, another way to succeed. He forever changed the position. He is the founding father, in my opinion, of defensive ends.”

Strahan said the first time the two defensive ends spent time together was during a Sports Illustrated photo shoot.

"It had the old and the new sack master," Strahan said.

The two became close with Jones appearing at Strahan's charity golf tournament. Jones also introduced Strahan when the former Giants received an award in Kansas City once.

"It meant the world to me," Strahan said. "I literally loved Deacon. You often hear the term, there’s only one of somebody. But there’s truly only one Deacon Jones. There are no ifs, ands or buts about it. I was a young player; he didn’t have to take me under his wing. It was just so good to have a legend believe in me as a young player, which made me better."

"He’ll live forever through me" Strahan added. "And he’ll live forever hopefully through guys I’ve taught."
Ohm Youngmisuk has covered the Giants, Jets and the NFL since 2006. Prior to that, he covered the Nets, Knicks and the NBA for nearly a decade. He joined ESPNNewYork.com after working at the New York Daily News for almost 12 years and is a graduate of Michigan State University.
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