Nine years after the untimely death of former Chiefs linebacker Derrick Thomas, the top sack leader of the 90’s was finally inducted into Pro Football’s Hall of Fame on Saturday night in Canton, OH.
Thomas’ career ended with 126 1/2 sacks and his 119 1/2 during the 90’s was the most by any NFL player. Thomas still holds the record of seven sacks which came on Veterans’ Day agains the Seattle Seahawks when he constantly pressured Seattle quarterback Dave Krieg.
It took five ballots before Thomas was inducted. He should have gone his first year eligible. In addition to the numbers Thomas put up as a number one draft pick for the Chiefs, the Miami native who played for Alabama embraced Kansas City with his charitable organizations and his impact is still felt today with the Derrick Thomas Academy, a charter school in Kansas City, Missouri, opened in September 2002. It serves 950 children from kindergarten through eighth grade.
Thomas was driving his SUV in 2000 heading to the Kansas City airport to fly to St. Louis for the NFC championship game when his vehicle hit a patch of ice and flipped, paralyzing the once dominating linebacker from the chest down. Thomas eventually died in the hospital from complications to the injury. Thomas died from a pulmonary embolism.
Click here to listen to former Chiefs GM Carl Peterson’s remarks from the induction ceremony.