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Rival Report 2/9: Remembering Derrick Thomas 16 years after death

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It's not often that a player makes the type of impact that Chiefs all-time great linebacker Derrick Thomas made. The man played with such a reckless abandonment, while also being so intelligent and charismatic that he transcended football rivalries. There is not a person who got to watch Derrick Thomas play that didn't respect and admire the incredible player that he was.

Sadly, 16 years ago on February 8th, 2000 Derrick Thomas died from injuries inflicted in a car accident days earlier. He was ejected from the car he was in during the crash and if it wasn't for the immense physical shape that he was in he would have died on impact. He lived for days afterwards despite the extensive injuries but later finally succumb to them. It was the last fight of his life and tragically he couldn't win it, but just living for any time after his horrific car accident truly was a testament to the man he was.

You see, Derrick Thomas didn't give up. Not ever. He was such a man that he fought for everything that he got on and off the field, he was determined unlike almost anything else the NFL has ever seen. When this man was after you he usually got you and if he didn't he would follow you until the whistle blew.

There are not many players in my lifetime that I enjoyed watching as much as DT, and that is even though he was on the rival Chiefs. It didn't matter, when somebody was that amazing you marvel at the greatness whether you are rooting for the team he is on or not. He was that good, and the world lost a truly special person on that day back in the year 2000.

I just would like to pay my respects to Derrick Thomas. I will never forget watching him and will always count myself lucky to have gotten to see him play this great game. He may have been a rival's star, but he was too good not to enjoy watching and he was a great person off the field as well. He would have had some of the best numbers in the history of the NFL if he had not been cut down in his prime, and for that he is still remembered fondly even now 16 years later after his death.

Rest in peace Derrick Thomas, anybody who watched you knows you were one of the greatest linebackers in NFL history.

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