The University of Alabama, The National Football Foundation and College Hall of Fame will jointly honor the late Derrick Thomas with an “NFF Hall of Fame On-Campus Salute” on Saturday in Tuscaloosa when Alabama plays Southern Mississippi.
During the on-field ceremonies, Thomas’ mother, Edith Morgan, will represent Thomas, a Hall of Fame linebacker with the Chiefs who died in 2000 as a result of injuries sustained in an automobile accident.
The program is a tradition that began with the inaugural class in 1951, and the salutes are the first of numerous activities in each inductee’s Hall of Fame experience. During the salutes, each inductee returns to his alma mater to accept a Hall of Fame plaque that remains on permanent display at the school.
Thomas concluded his career as the NCAA FBS leader in career sacks with 52 en route to winning unanimous All-America honors as a senior. The 1988 Butkus Award winner as the top linebacker in the country, Thomas led the Crimson Tide to a 35-5-1 record and four consecutive bowl berths from 1985-88.
The Chiefs selected Thomas with the fourth overall pick of the 1989 draft, and he spent his entire 11-year career with the Chiefs, culminating with his induction into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2009.
The 1989 Defensive Rookie of the Year, he was elected to the Pro Bowl every year from 1989-97. The 1993 Walter Payton Man of the Year, Thomas holds the NFL record for sacks in a game with seven, and he was a member of the 1990s All-Decade Team.