DERRICK THOMAS

DERRICK THOMAS

Class of 2009
Linebacker >>> 6-3, 243
(Alabama)
1989-1999 Kansas City Chiefs

Fourth player overall, 1989 draft. . . Defensive Rookie of the Year. . . Led NFL with team record 20 sacks; including NFL record seven sacks in one game, 1990 . . .Named to nine Pro Bowls. . .Accumulated most sacks in NFL during 1990s. . .Recorded 126.5 career sacks. . .All-NFL three times. . .All-AFC seven times. . .Born January 1, 1967 in Miami, Florida. . .Died February 8, 2000, at age of 33.

 

The Kansas City Chiefs selected linebacker Derrick Thomas as the fourth player overall in the 1989 National Football League Draft. A consensus All-America and Dick Butkus Award winner at Alabama, Thomas excelled as a pass rusher who set the school record for sacks.

His pass rushing specialty continued on the professional level as he amassed 10 sacks as a rookie for the Chiefs in 1989. He also added 75 tackles that season to earn Defensive Rookie of the Year honors. Following the season, Thomas was named to the first of nine straight Pro Bowls.

The 6'3", 243-pound linebacker showcased his talent in a big way during his second NFL season. He recorded a league-leading and team record 20 sacks that included an NFL record seven sacks in a game versus the Seattle Seahawks on November 11, 1990. He also recorded a team high six forced fumbles, two fumble recoveries, 63 tackles, five pass deflections and 35 quarterback pressures. His season-long performance earned him All-Pro recognition for the first time, an honor he would receive two other times during his career.

His extraordinary pass rushing skills continued throughout his 11-season career that was tragically cut short by his death following an automobile accident shortly after the 1999 NFL regular season.
No player amassed more sacks during the decade of 1990s than the 116.5 sacks by Thomas. He finished his career with 126.5 sacks which was the fourth highest total by a linebacker in NFL history. Thomas had 10 or more sacks in a season seven times and recorded multi-sack games 27 times during his 169-game career.

In addition to his career sack total, Thomas also forced 45 fumbles, had 19 fumble recoveries, scored four touchdowns on fumble returns and added three safeties. His lone interception, which he returned for 20 yards, came during his final season in 1999.

Thomas, a member of the NFL's All-Decade Team of the 1990s, was named first-team All-AFC seven times during an eight-year stretch from 1989 through 1996.

His contribution to the Chiefs franchise was nearly immeasurable. Prior to his arrival in Kansas City, the team had made just one playoff appearance since 1971. In the 11 years that Thomas anchored the defense, the Chiefs finished first or second in the AFC West ten times, made seven playoff appearances, and won three division titles.

Year Team
G
Sacks
1989 Kansas City
16
10.0
1990 Kansas City
15
20.0
1991 Kansas City
16
13.5
1992 Kansas City
16
14.5
1993 Kansas City
16
8.0
1994 Kansas City
16
11.0
1995 Kansas City
15
8.0
1996 Kansas City
16
13.0
1997 Kansas City
12
9.5
1998 Kansas City
15
12.0
1999 Kansas City
16
7.0
Career Total
169
126.5
 
Additional Career Statistics: Interceptions 1-20; Fumble Recoveries for TD: 4; Safeties: 3
Championship Games

1993 AFC - Buffalo Bills 30, Kansas City Chiefs 13
Thomas started as the roaming linebacker. He recorded three tackles.

 

All-Pro: 1990 (AP, PFWA, NEA, SN, PW), 1991 (AP, SN, PW), 1992 (SN, NEA)

All-Pro Second Team: 1991 (NEA), 1993 (AP), 1994 (AP), 1996 (AP)

All-AFC: 1989 (UPI, PW), 1990 (UPI, PW), 1991 (UPI, PW), 1992 (UPI, PW), 1993 (UPI), 1994 (UPI), 1996 (UPI, PW)

All-AFC-Second Team: 1995 (UPI)

(9) - 1990, 1991, 1992, 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 1997, 1998

 

At the time of his retirement following the 1999 season

[1st] Most Sacks, Game - 7 (vs. Seattle, Nov. 11, 1990)
[2nd] Most Touchdowns on Fumble Recoveries, Career - 4
[Tied for 2nd] Most Touchdowns on Opponents' Fumble Recoveries, Career - 4
[Tied for 2nd] Most Sacks, Game - 6 (vs. Oakland, Sept. 6, 1998)

Team Records

Chiefs' records held by Thomas following his last season in 1999

[1st] Most Opponents Fumbles Recovered, Career - 19
[1st] Most Opponents Fumbles Forced, Career - 45
[1st] Most Opponents Fumbles Forced, Season - 8 (1992)
[1st] Most Sacks, Career - 126.5
[1st] Most Sacks, Season - 20 (1990)
[1st] Most Sacks, Game - 7 (vs. Seattle, Nov. 11, 1990)
[1st] Most Safeties, Career - 3
[Tied for 1st] Most Safeties, Season - 1 (1994, 1997, 1998)
[2nd] Most Opponents Fumbles Forced, Season - 6 (1990, 1994)
[2nd] Most Sacks, Game - 6 (vs. Oakland, Sept. 6, 1998)
[Tied for 3rd] Most Sacks, Season - 14.5 (1992)
[Tied for 3rd] Most Sacks, Game - 4.0 (vs. Buffalo, Oct. 7, 1991; vs. San Diego, Nov. 8, 1992)
[Tied for 3rd] Most Defensive Touchdowns, Career - 4

Post-Season Records

[1st] Most Sacks, Career - 7.5
[Tied for 1st] Most Games Played, Career - 10

NFL Statistical Championships
Sack Titles: 1990

AFC Statistical Championships
Sack Titles: 1990

Team Statistical Championships
Sack Titles: 1989, 1990, 1991, 1992*, 1996, 1998, 1999

* Co-leader

 

1989 Defensive Rookie of the Year (AP, PW)
1990s All-Decade Team

Year Team
W
L
T
Division Finish
1989 Kansas City Chiefs
8
7
1
(2nd)
1990 Kansas City Chiefs
11
5
0
(2nd)
1991 Kansas City Chiefs
10
6
0
(2nd)
1992 Kansas City Chiefs
10
6
0
(2nd)
1993 Kansas City Chiefs
11
5
0
(1st)
1994 Kansas City Chiefs
9
7
0
(2nd)
1995 Kansas City Chiefs
13
3
0
(1st)
1996 Kansas City Chiefs
9
7
0
(2nd)
1997 Kansas City Chiefs
13
3
0
(1st)
1998 Kansas City Chiefs
7
9
0
(4th)
1999 Kansas City Chiefs
9
7
0
(2nd)

 

Full Name: Derrick Vincent Thomas
 

Birthdate: January 1, 1967

Birthplace: Miami, Florida

High School: South (Miami, FL) 

Elected to Pro Football Hall of Fame: January 31, 2009

Enshrined into the Pro Football Hall of Fame: August 8, 2009

Presenter:  Carl Peterson, former President of the Kansas City Chiefs. Thomas was represented posthumously by his son Derrion Thomas.

Other Members of the Class of 2009: Bob Hayes, Randall McDaniel, Bruce Smith, Ralph Wilson, Jr., Rod Woodson

Pro Career: 11 seasons, 169 games

Drafted: 1st round (4th player overall) in 1989 by Kansas City Chiefs

Uniform Number: #58
 

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