Derrick Thomas, the ferocious pass rusher and cornerstone of the Chiefs of the 1990s, was elected into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in his fifth year of eligibility. This came nine years after his death in February 2000 from injuries sustained in a automobile accident on a snowy Kansas City highway.
Thomas had 126.5 sacks from 1989-99, and will be inducted on Aug. 8 in Canton, Ohio. He will join eight other Chiefs enshrined in the Hall of Fame, including quarterback Len Dawson, defensive tackle Buck Buchanan, linebackers Bobby Bell and Willie Lanier, cornerback Emmitt Thomas, kicker Jan Stenerud, as well as Chiefs founder Lamar Hunt and coach Hank Stram.
Thomas, the fourth overall pick of the 1989 draft out of Alabama, was the the start of the Carl Peterson and coach Marty Schottenheimer run in Kansas City. Schottenheimer defense lead by Thomas trigger the rebuilding of the franchise. Making the playoffs seven times in eight years during 1990-97.
Thomas helped make Arrowhead into one of the most intimidating stadiums for visiting teams . He defined the art of the sack and strip of the quarterback. The 126.5 sacks rank him ninth in the NFL history at the time of his death. He lead the NFL in 1990 with 20 sacks. The same year he set the NFL record for a single- game with seven against Seattle.