"Derrick Thomas was a unique and gifted player, but he was also a unique and gifted human being," said Peterson. "Derrick this is your day, along with your classmates of 2009, you have earned this honor because of the way you played the game of football. All of us that knew you celebrate this day with you and your family.
"The light has gone back on and will now burn brightly not only in the community of Kansas City but here in this shrine to the game in Canton. We thank the Hall for recognizing Derrick Thomas as a worthy recipient of the status as a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame."
In the world of big time sports, Thomas’ next step might have seemed natural: Call a press conference, hold a fund raiser, arrange a photo-op…
Instead, privately, Thomas and his friend and attorney, Kevin Regan, arranged to bring the entire Lone Wolf team to Kansas City. They played a game against professionals. They got new uniforms, shoes and sport bags. They met Barry Sanders and Thomas "Hit Man" Hearns. They lived like stars, for a few days.
Chiefs LB Derrick Thomas will be the fifth of the six inductees who will be presented. Despite the best efforts of everyone to keep the ceremonies moving, expect about 30 minutes per inductee. That would put the portion of the ceremony for Thomas right around 8 o’clock.
He will be presented by former Chiefs president-GM Carl Peterson and his son Derrion will accept the honor for the Thomas family.
Today former Crimson Tide linebacker Derrick Thomas will be posthumously enshrined into the NFL Hall of Fame. While the honor will cement his legacy as a player in the pros, he is still remembered as one of the most potent defensive players in Alabama football history.
As a true freshman he played in 11 out of 12 games and started twice. In 1987 he broke the school's sack record, racking up a astonishing 18, surpassing the previous total of 11 set by Emanuel King in 1983. Then, the next year, he obliterated his own record by racking up an incredible 27 sacks over the course of the season.
Derrion Thomas, son of Derrick, on his father:
"[I'm] trying to get a feel for everything in his life."
"Sports Illustrated, and these pictures, I mean...the amount of time we spent together. The perception was maybe he didn't spend time with us, or he didn't know who we were, but I was with him all the time, as much as our schedules allows."
"This is what I want everyone to know. He was the only person who was always positive and upbeat. Most people don't know that he was one of the first players to start a charity in the Third and Long foundation. Just how much he loved life."
That's the nature of football. The great ones often have one dominant skill and use it to alter games. That's what Thomas did and from the defensive side of the ball, a difficult trick.
No, Thomas was a one-dimensional player but that one dimension made him a giant that cast his mark over every game he played in, whether he had a sack or not.
And it was at last night’s dinner where Derrick Thomas was sorely missed. His son Derrion filled in for his father, but nobody, nobody would have enjoyed the pageantry of the evening more than D.T.
Lamar also introd the Roman numeral designations for the Super Bowl.
Class of 2009 Enshrinement
07:00 PM - 10:00 PM (Eastern time)
Pro Football Hall of Fame Field at Fawcett Stadium
Helped lead Kansas City to a franchise-best 13-3 regular season record and the club’s second AFC West title in three years. Earned his seventh straight Pro Bowl appearance in the process. In all, Thomas would register 54 QB pressures that season, a number only surpassed by the 55 he tallied his rookie season.