CULVER CITY, Calif. -- Rosey Grier knew what Deacon Jones was all about.
Like Grier himself, Jones was a community-minded man who treated others with respect. But Jones -- who died Monday at the age of 74 -- loved to play to a crowd. If that meant pushing buttons, or explaining with a straight face his active dislike for quarterbacks, so be it.
"Deacon was a very unique individual. I heard him say the most incredible things, and people would just die laughing because the way he said it," Grier recalled with a smile during a Tuesday sitdown with Around The League. "You know that he doesn't really mean some of the things he says, but he says it for effect to see how you react."
"It was like, 'Don't do like I do, but do what I say I do.' "
Grier, Jones, Merlin Olsen and Lamar Lundy made up the Los Angeles Rams defensive line of the 1960s immortalized as "The Fearsome Foursome". Jones is thought by some to be the best defensive player in NFL history. We asked Grier if he believed Jones in his prime would be a star if he played in the present day.
"Yes," Grier said without hesitation. "He was so fast. He was fast, and he was confident."
Sadly, Grier is the only member of the group still with us. Olsen died in 2010. Lundy passed away three years before that. Grier, 80, now stands alone to represent the group.
"I am the last of 'The Fearsome Foursome,' " he said, before pausing. "And I don't feel bad other than the fact that it is now totally spiritual. It's like God gave you this place and you work from this place that he put you. I have these three men to thank God for allowing me to spend time with them and say goodbye and know they made a difference in my life and the way I think about things and the way I do things."
A brotherhood, defined.
Check out a special edition of "The Rich Eisen Podcast" for more reflections on Deacon Jones from Grier, Jack Youngblood, Jennifer Allen, Michael Irvin, Warren Sapp and Willie McGinest.