Derrick Thomas
Linebacker, 1989-99
University of Alabama
Chiefs Hall of Fame (2001)
Pro Football Hall of Fame (2009)

Member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame
Derrick Thomas
The Kansas City Chiefs selected linebacker Derrick Thomas as the fourth player overall in the 1989 National Football League Draft. A consensus All-America and Dick Butkus Award winner at Alabama, Thomas excelled as a pass rusher who set the school record for sacks.

His pass rushing specialty continued on the professional level as he amassed 10 sacks as a rookie for the Chiefs in 1989. He also added 75 tackles that season to earn Defensive Rookie of the Year honors. Following the season, Thomas was named to the first of nine straight Pro Bowls.

The 6'3", 243-pound linebacker showcased his talent in a big way during his second NFL season. He recorded a league-leading and team record 20 sacks that included an NFL record seven sacks in a game versus the Seattle Seahawks on November 11, 1990. He also recorded a team high six forced fumbles, two fumble recoveries, 63 tackles, five pass deflections and 35 quarterback pressures. His season-long performance earned him All-Pro recognition for the first time, an honor he would receive two other times during his career.

His extraordinary pass rushing skills continued throughout his 11-season career that was tragically cut short by his death following an automobile accident shortly after the 1999 NFL regular season. No player amassed more sacks during the decade of 1990s than the 116.5 sacks by Thomas. He finished his career with 126.5 sacks which was the fourth highest total by a linebacker in NFL history. Thomas had 10 or more sacks in a season seven times and recorded multi-sack games 27 times during his 169-game career.

In addition to his career sack total, Thomas also forced 45 fumbles, had 19 fumble recoveries, scored four touchdowns on fumble returns and added three safeties. His lone interception, which he returned for 20 yards, came during his final season in 1999.

Thomas, a member of the NFL's All-Decade Team of the 1990s, was named first-team All-AFC seven times during an eight-year stretch from 1989 through 1996.

His contribution to the Chiefs franchise was nearly immeasurable. Prior to his arrival in Kansas City, the team had made just one playoff appearance since 1971. In the 11 years that Thomas anchored the defense, the Chiefs finished first or second in the AFC West ten times, made seven playoff appearances, and won three division titles.

Derrick Thomas' Career Statistics
Tackles
Sacks
Year
Team
G
Solo
Assist
Total
FF
FR
No
Yds
1989
KC
16
56
19
75
3
1
10.0
95.5
1990
KC
15
47
16
63
6
2
20.0
150.0
1991
KC
16
60
19
79
4
4
13.5
112.0
1992
KC
16
54
13
67
8
3
14.5
113.0
1993
KC
16
32
11
43
4
1
8.0
50.0
1994
KC
16
67
19
86
6
3
11.0
71.0
1995
KC
15
59
12
71
2
1
8.0
57.5
1996
KC
16
49
9
58
3
1
13.0
99.0
1997
KC
12
34
21
55
3
0
9.5
56.5
1998
KC
15
40
12
52
3
2
12.0
79.0
1999
KC
16
56
21
77
3
1
7.0
65.0
Totals
169
558
170
728
45
19
126.5
948.5
Postseason
10
36
1
37
3
0
7.5
55.0