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NFL to honor annual sacks leader with Deacon Jones Award

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The NFL named an new award after the late Deacon Jones (USA Today Sports Images)

Beginning in 2013, the NFL will honor the annual league leader in sacks with the Deacon Jones Award, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com reports.

Jones was 74-years-old when he died of natural causes at his Southern California home on June 4. NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell will make the official announce at a memorial service for Jones at the Los Angeles Coliseum on Saturday.

The award is expected to be presented during the annual "NFL Honors" program on the night before the Super Bowl.

Jones played 14 seasons in the NFL, mostly with the Los Angeles Rams, who selected him in the 14th round (No. 186 overall) of the 1961 NFL draft. Jones finished his career with a two-year stint with the San Diego Chargers before spending the 1974 season with the Washington Redskins. Jones coined the phrase "sacks" and though they were not an official statistic during his playing career, the Rams' media guide credits Jones with 173.5 sacks over his career.

"Sacking the quarterback is like when you devastate a city, or you cream a multitude of people," Jones said during one of his memorable interviews with NFL Films. "You take all the offensive linemen and put them in a burlap bag, and then you take a baseball bat and beat on the bag. You're sacking them, you're bagging them. And that's what you're doing with a quarterback."

Had sacks been an official statistic during his career, Jones' estimated total in the Rams' media guide would have him at third in NFL history behind fellow Hall of Fame defensive ends Bruce Smith (200) and Reggie White (198).

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