Red Zone

The Chiefs and NFL by beat writer Terez Paylor

Percy Snow, not Derrick Thomas, elected to College Football Hall of Fame

05/07/2013 2:40 PM

05/20/2014 10:44 AM

How’s this for a twist?

The late Derrick Thomas, a Hall of Fame linebacker for the Chiefs, was not elected to the College Football Hall of Fame on Tuesday.

Linebacker Percy Snow, who suffered a freak off-field injury after his rookie season with the Chiefs, was among the 12 players and coaches voted into the college shrine.

Who’d have thought?

Thomas, the 1988 Butkus Award winner at Alabama, was the Chiefs’ first-round pick in 1989 and was the centerpiece of the franchise’s revival in the 1990s under general manager Carl Peterson and coach Marty Schottenheimer. He would lead the Chiefs to playoffs in seven of his 11 seasons and rolled up 126 1/2 sacks before he died as a result of injuries from an auto accident on Jan. 23, 2000.

Thomas was elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2009.

Snow, the first player to win the Butkus Award as the nation's top linebacker and the Lombardi as the top linemen or linebacker as a senior with Michigan State in 1989, was the Chiefs’ first-round pick in 1990. He would start 15 games at inside linebacker as a rookie when the Chiefs went 11-5 and made the playoffs in 1990 and followed Thomas as the club’s Mack Lee Hill Award as the Chiefs’ rookie of the year.

But early in training camp in 1991, Snow suffered a fractured ankle while riding a moped on the streets of River Falls, Wis., and would not be the same player again. Snow appeared in 15 games with one start in 1992 before he was released.

Both Thomas and Snow were among the most dominant defensive players in college football as seniors. Thomas set an Alabama career record with 52 sacks, forced 12 fumbles and blocked five kicks. He had 27 sacks in his final college season.

Snow was Big Ten defensive player of the year and was Michigan State’s all-time tackle leader with 473 (276 solo) with six career interceptions, four sacks and two blocked kicks.

There’s no telling what kind of an NFL career Snow might have had, so maybe there’s some justice in his election to the College Football Hall of Fame.

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