ST. LOUIS (AP) -- The jersey of Deacon Jones, the defensive end who coined the term "quarterback sack," will be retired before the St. Louis Rams' home opener against the Green Bay Packers on Sunday.
Jones' No. 75 will be unveiled on the Ring of Honor at the Edward Jones Dome during the sold-out game between the Rams (0-2) and Packers (1-1). Rams coach Steve Spagnuolo loves the idea of honoring Jones, who played for the Rams from 1961 to 1971.
"I think it is great," Spagnuolo said. "I remember watching him when I was growing up and it will be an honor and a real pleasure to meet him."
Jones, dubbed the "Secretary of Defense," had 159 1/2 sacks with the Rams and finished his career with 173 1/2 sacks. He reached double-digit sack totals seven times. He had three seasons of 20 sacks or more, including 21 sacks in 1967, though the NFL did not make sacks an official statistic until 1982.
Those numbers astound Rams veteran defensive end Leonard Little.
"What I know, he was one of the best defensive ends of all time," Little said. "I can't imagine 21 sacks. The most I've ever had was 14 and I thought that was a lot. He was one of the greatest."
Second-year defensive end Chris Long said he's seen Jones only on film.
"That's a man right there. That's the best way I could describe him," Long said. "He played the game ferociously, and it was pretty awesome to hear about how he carried himself."
During the 1967 season, Jones became the first defensive lineman to record 100 solo tackles. The NFL honored Jones as the Defensive Player of the Year twice, in 1967 and 1968. He was voted to the Pro Bowl nine times, including seven consecutive seasons (1964-1970) with the Rams.
"The thing we've got to remember being players in this era is to really respect the game `back when' because those guys could really play," Long said. "Deacon Jones is a perfect example. This whole league and everybody in this game should honor the past and the players who played in that era. Those guys paved the way for us."
Elected to the Hall of Fame in 1980, Jones was part of the famous Rams line that was nicknamed the "Fearsome Foursome." Along with Jones, Merlin Olsen, Lamar Lundy and Rosey Grier were one of the best defensive lines in NFL history.
(Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)