Bubba Smith: Deacon Jones Comparison

David Boss-US PRESSWIRE

Former Los Angeles Rams defensive end Deacon Jones passed away the other day and while it's difficult to compare anyone to the Pro Football Hall of Fame great, there was one guy from the old Baltimore Colts who drew comparisons.

That guy was Bubba Smith, who also has sadly passed away around two years ago. Smith was a monster for the Colts, terrorizing opponents, especially quarterbacks, until a freak sideline injury derailed and ultimately ended his NFL career.

Back then, the guys who held the first down yardage markers did not automatically drop them when a play headed towards the sidelines. Smith nailed his knee on one and while it may be a minor surgical procedure today it was meatball surgery back then and spelled doom for Bubba's career.

Even though Deacon Jones was credited with coming up with the term and statistic of the QB sack, that stat was not kept for a majority of his career and therefore, it's difficult to determine how many he actually had. Some researchers have come up with a total, but truly only for discussion purposes, but nonetheless, Jones' trademark first step "head-slap," not outlawed in football, was his signature move on his way to chasing down an opponent, using the other team's quarterback.

Surprisingly, Bubba Smith, who was the first overall pick in the 1967 NFL Draft, a two-time Pro Bowler and first team All-Pro, was never inducted into the Hall of Fame. Smith later found fame as Officer Hightower in the movie series, Police Academy, as well as other acting roles.

Others have confused Bubba Smith for Deacon Jones, too. However, most experts from that era say that while there may have been a physical resemblance, their on the field play was significantly different.

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