What Happened to Derrick Thomas? Inside Tragic Death of Chiefs Legend!

Derrick Thomas, a name synonymous with greatness in the world of football, left an indelible mark on the Kansas City Chiefs and the NFL as a whole. However, a tragic turn of events cut short this Hall of Famer's promising career.

Derrick Thomas is one of the finest Kansas City Chiefs players who did not win a Super Bowl championship. The Alabama alum played his whole career with the Chiefs and was an important part of their defense.

In this article, we delve into the circumstances surrounding Derrick Thomas' untimely death and the impact it had on the football community.

Who was Derrick Thomas?

Derrick Vincent Thomas, nicknamed “D.T.” and born on January 1, 1967, was an American football linebacker and defensive end with the Kansas City Chiefs of the National Football League (NFL).

He was regarded as one of the finest pass rushers of all time and spent 11 seasons with the Chiefs until dying in 2000. Thomas played collegiate football at the University of Alabama, where he received the Butkus Award, and was drafted fourth overall by Kansas City in 1989.

How did Derrick Thomas die?

Throughout his career, he was named to nine Pro Bowls and two first-team All-Pros, and he set a single-game sack record.

Thomas died of a pulmonary embolism after being wounded in a car accident following the 1999 season with the Chiefs. He was elected posthumously into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2009 and the College Football Hall of Fame in 2014.

How did Derrick Thomas die?

Thomas was in a bad car accident on Jan. 23, 2000, when his SUV went off the road during a snowfall. He and one of the passengers in the vehicle were not wearing seatbelts and were thrown out upon contact. The other passenger was murdered instantly, leaving Thomas paraplegic from the chest down.

About a month later, while being treated at Miami's Jackson Memorial Hospital, Thomas informed his mother that he was not feeling well. He then fell into cardiopulmonary arrest.

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Thomas died from a pulmonary embolism, a huge blood clot that formed in his legs and moved to his lungs. He was 33 when he died.

Derrick Thomas’ legacy

Derrick Thomas was one of the top sack artists of his time. In a career cut short by tragedy, he earned two first-team All-Pro nods and nine Pro Bowl appearances.

Thomas is the Chiefs' all-time leader in safeties, sacks, fumble recoveries, and forced fumbles. The Alabama alum was an unstoppable force in the Kansas defense.

Thomas might have easily fit in with Andy Reid and Patrick Mahomes' current Kansas City Chiefs club. The back-to-back Super Bowl champs could have used Thomas' fearless running to frighten AFC opponents every week.

Unfortunately, Thomas was a member of a Chiefs team that never advanced to the playoffs and was never considered a Super Bowl contender during his time in the NFL.

Furthermore, Thomas was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2009. The following year, Kansas City retired his No. 58 jersey as a tribute to their renowned defense.

They also changed the name of their Player of the Year to the Derrick Thomas Award in his honor. Thomas is the only NFL player to die in the middle of his playing career and receive a gold bust at Canton.

Derrick Thomas is survived by seven children from five different relationships.

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