One of the most unforgettable athletes of the 1990s, Kansas City Chiefs
Linebacker Derrick Thomas dazzled fans in a record 9 Pro Bowl appearances,
setting team records for sacks, safeties, and fumble recoveries as well as an
NFL-record seven sacks in a game.
The NFL honored Mr. Thomas with the league’s two most prestigious humanitarian
awards, the NFL Man of the Year (1993) and the Byron “Whizzer” White
Humanitarian Award (1995)
Mr. Thomas was also well-known for his work in the community. He founded the
Third and Long Foundation, which promotes literacy among Kansas City’s youth.
He also was involved over the years in a number of businesses, a roofing
company being his latest venture.
“He tried to be three things in life,” Chief’s President Carl Peterson said.
“He wanted to be the greatest linebacker that ever played. I think he came
pretty darn close to that. He tried to be the best businessman he could be. I
know how hard he worked at that. He also wanted to be the biggest
philanthropist, the biggest charity-giving guy there was. He did this.”
“I have never met an athlete who has as strong a vision in terms of how he
could make an impact on the world,” said Leigh Steinberg , Mr. Thomas’ agent
and friend. “It’s the Derrick Thomas standing next to President Clinton on
Memorial Day, speaking for all children of deceased veterans, that we’ll
remember. It’s the Derrick Thomas whose commitment to children’s literacy was
so profound that we’ll miss.”
On February 9th, 2000, less than three weeks after suffering serious injuries
in an automobile accident, the former Kansas City Chiefs standout died in a
Thomas’ survivors include his mother, Edith Morgan; his grandmother, Annie
Adams; three sisters; and four brothers.
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