After four painful attempts to get in the Hall of Fame, the fifth time finally worked out for Derrick Thomas. He was inducted into the Hall of Fame today including Rod Woodson, Bruce Smith, Ralph Wilson Jr., Randall McDaniel, and Bob Hayes. Thomas was originally a four-time finalist for the Hall of Fame to only come up short of getting inducted. The main reason was because of his short career due to a car accident that left him paralyzed and as a result, he died two weeks later after the incident.
Thomas was a first-round 4th overall pick from Alabama that played outside linebacker. He is a nine-time pro bowler and three-time all-pro linebacker that recorded an average of nearly 11.5 sacks per year during his 11-year career in the NFL. The total for his career was 126.6 sacks, which is 4th All-Time in the linebacker category. He also forced 45 fumbles (an NFL record), recovered 19 fumbles and scored four touchdowns off of those fumble recoveries. He is currently fifth all-time on the Chiefs list in tackles with 649 and holds the record for most sacks in one game with seven.
Thomas was basically another version of Lawrence Taylor. He was a speedy linebacker that could get to the quarterback at any time coming off the edge. A defensive playmaker that can cause a turnover and turn it into points for the Chiefs.
As great as Thomas was he had problems stopping the run. Evidence showed when he got benched for most of the second-half during the 1994 AFC Title Game vs. the Buffalo Bills. Thomas also only had one interception his whole career and it came in his last season before the tragic death.
Derrick Thomas will always be known as the most underrated linebacker in the NFL. A guy who earned a lot of respect and recognition during his playing career in Kansas City, but a guy who was never talked about as one of the best linebackers in NFL history once he passed away. It is sad that the Hall of Fame had to make the Thomas family wait a long time for this day to happen, but the wait is over now and Thomas will be known as one of the greatest linebackers to ever play the game of football.
If Thomas was still here today, his legacy would have grown even more and he probably would have broken some more NFL records. Who knows if that would have actually happened? We miss you DT. You will always be known as my favorite Chief and your legacy will always stay here in Kansas City.