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Derrick Thomas RIP

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I wrote this last year on February 8th. Unfortunately, the story still fits today. --Chris

Forever a Chief (Photo source)
Derrick Thomas died 8 years ago today following complications from a car accident on January 23, 2000. There's been more talk of Derrick Thomas over the last month or so because of his Hall of Fame candidacy. Unfortunately, the voters of the HOF did not see fit for Thomas to join the HOF, at least this year. Billed as too one dimensional for his exceptional pass rush ability by the HOF voters, Thomas set Chiefs records for sacks (126.5), safeties (3), fumble recoveries (18) and a ridiculous 45 forced fumbles.

Hall of Fame or not, Kansas City knows that Derrick Thomas was the greatest defensive player we've ever had. If you're not a Chiefs fan, then your memory over the last 6 or 7 years is probably filled with memories of fantastic offensive play and uninspired defensive play. In the 1990s, this was not the case. Thomas played ten years for the Chiefs, from 1989 to 1999. I associate Derrick Thomas with the years that the Chiefs always had a chance to win the AFC West. Today and in the 1990s especially, the AFC West was one of the toughest divisions to compete in. Derrick Thomas reminds me of the era of SI covers touting the Chiefs as the preseason Super Bowl representative from the AFC.

I'm not going to get into the details of Thomas' off the field stuff because I really don't care. Derrick Thomas was the face of the last dominant era of Kansas City football. The QBs came and went. The RBs came and went in that time. But Derrick Thomas always scared opposing offenses, which is the era in Kansas City Chiefs football that I'd like to return to.