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Kansas City Chiefs DBs coach Emmitt Thomas given lifetime achievement award

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The Pro Football Writers of America have named Thomas this year’s “Dr. Z Award” recipient

Pro Football Hall of Fame Enshrinement Ceremony

Kansas City Chiefs legend and current defensive backs coach Emmitt Thomas has been named one of two recipients of the 2018 “Dr. Z” Award, as presented by the Pro Football Writers of America (PFWA). The “Dr. Z” Award is given for lifetime achievement as an assistant coach in the NFL.

The award is named for Paul “Dr. Z” Zimmerman, who covered the NFL for 29 years as Sports Illustrated’s lead pro football writer. Joe Bugel, who spent 27 seasons as an NFL assistant most famously with the Washington Redskins, is this year’s other recipient.

Bugel and Thomas are the 11th and 12th recipients in the award’s history.

Thomas, 75, is one of 15 former Chiefs that have been elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame and one of 10 players in franchise history with their number retired by the club, but he earned this award, in particular, for what he has been able to accomplish after his playing career.

According to the official press release courtesy of the PFWA, Thomas began his NFL coaching career with the St. Louis Cardinals (1981-85) as a tight ends and wide receivers coach. He moved to Washington and spent nine seasons with the Redskins (1986-94) as a wide receivers (1986) and secondary (1987-94) coach. Thomas then served as defensive coordinator with the Philadelphia Eagles (1995-98), Green Bay Packers (1999) and Minnesota Vikings (2000-01). He moved to the Atlanta Falcons and worked eight seasons (2002-09) as secondary coach (2002-03), senior defensive assistant and secondary (2004-06), defensive backs (2007) and assistant head coach and secondary (2008-09). He also was Atlanta’s interim head coach for the final three games of 2007. Thomas has coached in two Super Bowls (XXII, XXVI). winning both with Washington, and four conference title games. He was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2008.

Thomas is in his ninth season (2010-present) in Kansas City as the defensive backs coach.