Class of 2009 Enshrinee
Derrick Thomas' HOF bio>>>
Thomas was the first defensive player selected in the 1989 NFL Draft. He was one of three future Hall of Famers taken in the first four picks that year – QB Troy Aikman went first overall, RB Barry Sanders No. 2 and Thomas as No. 4.
Derrick created the “3rd and Long” program to help inner city kids learn to read.
Thomas played tight end and running back at South High School in Miami.
His heroes were listed as Pro Football Hall of Famer linebackers Mike Singletary and Lawrence Taylor.
Thomas’s final game came in the 1999 season finale played on Jan. 2, 2000. He became the only player in Chiefs history to play in a game in three separate decades.
The Chiefs had winning seasons 10 times during his 11-year career. In the 15 seasons prior to his arrival the Chiefs only had two winning seasons.
Thomas was well known for stripping the ball while sacking quarterbacks. Of his team record 45 forced fumbles, 34 came on quarterbacks of which 20 were recovered by the Chiefs. Four of those were returned for touchdowns.
Had 27 multi-sack games in his career. Kansas City was 22-5 in those games.
Won AFC Defensive Player of the Week Award in his second NFL game after recording seven tackles, 2.5 sacks, and one forced fumble in KC’s 24-19 win over the Raiders on Sept. 17, 1989.
Was first linebacker ever drafted in first round by the Chiefs.
“He has outstanding quickness, if he gets an edge on you; he’s going to blow right past you.” – Andy Heck, Seattle Seahawks tackle after Thomas’ record-setting 7-sack day
“This guy transcended the football field.” – Carl Peterson, former Chiefs President
“It’s really difficult to match up that kind of speed” - Tom Coughlin, then coach of the Jacksonville Jaguars
"He was on his game today, no question about that; He’s a Hall of Famer.” – Jeff George, former NFL quarterback after he was sacked six times by Thomas
“Derrick doesn’t have to be the guy who has to carry this defense, but I expect him to get at least 15 sacks. When you have those tools, you expect the best.” - Gunther Cunningham, Chiefs defensive coordinator
“Without question, when Derrick is at the top of his game, he is one of the most dominating forces in football.” – Dan Williams, former Chiefs defensive lineman
“Whether he gets a sack or not, they’re very aware of him.”- Gunther Cunningham
“I don’t ever want it to be a question whether I’m a Pro Bowl-caliber player, I believe I’m the best at what I do, and it’s my responsibility to play like I’m capable of playing and help this defense as much as possible.” - Derrick Thomas after a game in 1997
“In the time I’ve been in this business, there have been three defensive players who could change the course of a game. Lawrence Taylor, Bruce Smith, and Derrick.” – Carl Peterson
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