Indianapolis Colts linebacker Robert Mathsi won the inaugural Deacon Jones Award, given to the NFL leader in quarterback sacks.
Mathis led the NFL with 19.5 sacks and made the Pro Bowl as the Colts won the AFC SOuth.
“Deacon Jones is the creator of the sack so to be able to win the first award in his honor is an honor,” Mathis said. “I’m very proud that I was able to win it and I thank my teammates, mainly the d-line, who were very instrumental in helping me get to the quarterback. It’s a unit award, more so than an individual award.”
A Hall of Fame defensive lineman, Jones died on June 3 at age 74
“Deacon Jones was an icon among icons,” NFL commissioner Roger Goodell said. “Even with his fellow Hall of Famers, Deacon Jones held a special status. He was a hard-charging football player and the original sack artist who coined the term. He is warmly regarded by his peers not only as one of the greatest players in NFL history but also for his tremendous influence and sense of humor. This award will ensure that players, coaches and fans and the media will remember the impact that Deacon had on all of us and know that he represents unique qualities deserving of this honor.”
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Aaron Wilson covers the Ravens for The Baltimore Sun.