The Kansas City Chiefs announced today that the late Derrick Thomas will have his jersey #58 retired by the Chiefs and his Pro Football Hall of Fame ring will be presented to his family in a ceremony at Arrowhead during halftime of the Chiefs contest vs. Denver on December 6th.
Thomas will be the 10th player in franchise history to have his jersey retired, joining K Jan Stenerud (3), QB Len Dawson (16), CB Emmitt Thomas (18), RB Abner Haynes (28), RB Stone Johnson (33), RB Mack Lee Hill (36), LB Willie Lanier (63), LB Bobby Bell (78) and DT Buck Buchanan (86). Thomas was posthumously inducted into the Chiefs Hall of Fame in 2001, and the club’s Most Valuable Player Award was subsequently renamed in his honor as the Derrick Thomas Award.
A member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame’s NFL All-Decade Team of the ‘90s, no player recorded more sacks during that decade than Thomas (116.5). He established a single-season franchise record with 20.0 sacks in ‘90, including an NFL single-game record 7.0 sacks vs. Seattle (11/11/90). During Thomas’ 11 seasons with the Chiefs from ‘89-99, the team earned seven playoff berths, won three AFC West titles and recorded 10 winning seasons.
Truly one of the most dominant players of his era, Thomas produced 27 multi-sack games during his NFL tenure. From ‘92-99, the Chiefs were an astounding 16-1 when Thomas registered 2.0 or more sacks. He was also the key figure in Kansas City’s record-setting ‘95 defensive unit that ranked in the NFL’s top five in scoring defense (1st), total defense (2nd), rushing defense (3rd) and pass defense (5th) as the Chiefs posted a 13-3 regular season record for the first time in team history.
A stalwart in the Kansas City community, Thomas was named the ‘93 NFL Man of the Year for his philanthropic efforts. Thomas’ “Third and Long Foundation” is still active in the Kansas City community, continuing the reading and scholarship programs he began. The “Third and Long Foundation” celebrates its 20th anniversary in 2009, with Thomas’ longtime friend and teammate, DE Neil Smith, serving as the driving force of the organization. In June of 2001, the Derrick Thomas Academy, a tuition-free public charter school was launched in Kansas City. The academy is the first-ever public elementary school named after an NFL hero.
Derrick deserved to have his number retired the day after he passed away. Not only was he one of the best to ever suit up for the Chiefs, but one of the best the league ever saw. To this day I still can’t believe that he is gone. There won’t be a more sought after ticket than that game against the Broncos. I don’t care how well either team is playing, Denver will be coming into a buzzsaw on December 6th and they aren’t leaving with a win.