Whelp. Derek was nice while he lasted, but another one bites the dust. Since I’m getting to pick this back up on late notice, I’m not even messing around. I’m going straight to the Holy Grail: DT58
Derrick Thomas 1967-2000
Derrick Thomas would have been 52 right now had he not passed from a tragic accident. That seems hard to believe, he remains young in all of our minds’ eye. His first year with the Chiefs was 1989, when I was eight years old, and he played 10 seasons before the wreck happened, my senior year of high school.Embed from Getty Images
I was raised in a house with three generation of women in it, and me. Once you get all your “well that explains some things” jokes out of the way, I’ll continue by saying I mention that because I didn’t grow up like many of you, in a house that had the TV tuned to the Chiefs game every Sunday. It probably wasn’t until the early-90’s that I even discovered football…clicking back and forth through the 4 or 5 channels we got through the rabbit ears on Sundays after getting home from church to find it was about the only thing on. So I sat there and watched football by myself. And more often that not, it was the Chiefs playing. Sure, I realized they were the local team, but I didn’t realize I was supposed to root for them because no one had told me how this all worked; this, being a fan, thing.Embed from Getty Images
I don’t remember a lot of players from the 90’s. I remember Joe. I remember Marcus. I remember Dan, and always wondering how he fit his face in that helmet. But most of all, I remember Derrick Thomas. He made everyone else on the field look human. Every snap he just jumped off the screen at you with his speed an athleticism. He was magic to a young Tony who didn’t know anything about the game. I could always tell he was better than the other players, but not knowing the rules of the game I never was able to appreciate the context of what he was doing. I don’t remember any of his big games or special moments. Though I may have watched them, they never stood out because I didn’t know they were special. I just knew he was. So my memories of watching Derrick play are just a series of pass rush after pass rush, with him defying gravity with that bend around the corner. Its one of my longest regrets during my period of watching the Chiefs; that I didn’t get to watch more of him, remember more of him, or know what he meant to the game at the time I was watching.Embed from Getty Images
One of my favorite questions to ask people who aren’t from KC and never have been here is why they became Chiefs fans. Its because 9/10 times I know the answer. Derrick Thomas.
If you by chance missed how Derrick passed away, the New York Post wrote a short piece on him linked below.