Memorial Day: "Third and Long" Derrick Thomas

Joe JonesCorrespondent IMay 22, 2009

25 Nov 1990: Linebacker Derrick Thomas of the Kansas City Chiefs looks on during a game against the Los Angeles Raiders at the Coliseum in Los Angeles, California. The Chiefs won the game, 27-24.

It was only nine years ago that we lost one of the greatest Chief to ever play the game. This Memorial Day, we honor Derrick Thomas and all he's done for the Kansas City Chiefs and his community.

Derrick Thomas joined the Chiefs in 1989. His career came to an end after suffering a serious auto accident in Kansas City on January 23, 2000. He died of a massive blood clot two weeks later.

He was the son of a fighter pilot who was shot down over Vietnam in 1972. That mission's code name was "linebacker two".

On Veteran's Day 1990 a fighter pilot gave Derrick a bandana with fighter jets on it. Thomas set an NFL single-game record with seven sacks against the Seattle Seahawks that game.

During Derrick's 11 seasons with the Chiefs, the team earned three AFC West titles and recorded 10 winning seasons.

Thomas was inducted into Pro Footballs Hall of Fame in 2009, and became the 10th member of the Chiefs to be enshrined, with fellow linebackers Bobby Bell (class of '82) and Willie Lanier (class of '86).

Derrick Thomas will always be remembered as the "Chief of all Chiefs."