Chiefs Hall of Honor

AFL

Derrick Thomas

Derrick Thomas

LB

1989-1999

Born: January 1, 1967 (Miami, FL)

College: Alabama

Drafted: By Chiefs, 1989 / 1st Rd (4th overall)

Career Highlights:

  • AFC-NFC Pro Bowl, 1989-97
  • All-Pro, 1989-94, 1996
  • All-AFC, 1989-96
  • Mack Lee Hill Award, 1989
  • Chiefs MVP, 1991, 1994
  • NFL Man of the Year, 1993
  • NFL single-game record, most sacks (7), 1990
  • NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year, 1989
  • Chiefs Hall of Fame Inductee, 2001
  • Pro Football Hall of Fame Inductee, 2009

With his blinding first step, legendary speed off the edge, and patented sack and strip move that led to many of a franchise record 45 forced fumbles, Derrick Thomas wasn’t merely the NFL sack leader in the 1990s, he was the face of a revived Chiefs franchise that awoke from its dormancy to a new era of hope and prosperity. “Derrick was a player that could dominate a game,” said longtime foe and fellow Pro Football Hall of Famer John Elway. “His explosive talents were so great that he could dictate to an offense’s pass and run blocking schemes as well as the plays that were called.” Thomas compiled a franchise high 126.5 career sacks, earned a spot on the NFL’s All-Decade team of the ‘90s, and set the NFL single game sack record with seven against Seattle on Nov. 11, 1990. The best praise for Thomas might have come from his hero, legendary Giants linebacker Lawrence Taylor. “Derrick is a great linebacker,” said Taylor. “He is a game-breaker, the guy an opposing quarterback always has to be aware of. He’s going to be considered one of the best when his playing days are over.” Those days ended too soon. Thomas was critically injured in a car accident in January 2000, and died weeks later from complications.

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