true hero. That is how Missouri Senator Bill Kenney described
Derrick Thomas to the rest of the Missouri Legislature as he broke
the news of Thomas' death. Kenney, a former Kansas City Chiefs
quarterback, said, "He will be missed by football fans around
the nation, but we will miss him in Kansas City for his attitude
and his efforts he put forth in our community." The Missouri
House and Senate each paused for a moment of silence in Derrick
his life after suffering a heart attack as a result of an auto
accident that occurred two weeks prior to his death. He seemed
to be on his way toward recovering from the accident that killed
his friend Michael Tellis, although he probably would have faced
some sort of paralysis. The tragic events left many people in
a state of shock and disbelief.
began his career with the Chiefs in 1989 when he was drafted out
of Alabama University. The Chiefs new they had something special
when he recorded 10 sacks as a rookie and followed it up with
20 the next year. He had an instinctive ability to get to the
quarterback and he could single-handedly disrupt an offense by
destroying the quarterback's confidence.
In 1990, his
second year in the league, Thomas recorded a record seven sacks
in one game against the Seattle Seahawks. The game was held on
Veterans Day and Derrick had dedicated his play to his father,
an Air Force pilot who was killed in Vietnam in a military operation
ironically named Operation Linebacker II.
career spanned 11 years with only six games missed due to injury.
He had career totals of 128 sacks and 524 tackles. He is also
ninth on the all-time sacks list and he even recorded four safeties
during his career.
ranks right up there with all the great linebackers and pass rushers
in NFL history and should be an easy choice for induction into
the Pro Football Hall of Fame. He put the fear into the opposition
the same way a Lawrence Taylor or Dick Butkus did in their day.
He was also a player and humanitarian that the people of Kansas
city could be proud of and he is one that is greatly missed not
only for his football abilities, but for all the things he has
contributed and done for the community.