Derrick Thomas: 1 Day to Canton

Posted Aug 8, 2009


The primary mission of the Derrick Thomas/Neil Smith Third and Long Foundation is to support and improve reading and learning abilities of disadvantaged school children in Kansas City, Missouri and its surrounding areas. The Foundation strives to change the lives of 9-13 year old urban children facing challenging and even life-threatening situations. For more information, please visit:


Third and Long Tutoring
The Third and Long Foundation was born out of a desire by Derrick Thomas to help children receive a proper education. In the early days of the foundation, Thomas would show up at the public library the afternoon before home games and personally tutor the students. He would usually bring a few teammates along with him and they’d focus on helping improve the children’s reading comprehension level. Because of his unwavering passion, the Third and Long Foundation continues its benevolence with Kansas City youth. Countless individuals have been touch by the Third and Long Foundation both during and after his playing days concluded.




August 8, 2009
The number of all-time greats permanently honored in the Pro Football Hall of Fame increases to 253. Thomas is one of six members of the Enshrinement of the Class of 2009. The official Enshrinement Ceremony will be broadcast at 6:00 PM CST on both the NFL Network and ESPN.



The late LB Derrick Thomas was a stalwart member of the Kansas City Chiefs on and off the field for the final 11 years of his life. Thomas was the fourth overall selection in the ‘89 NFL Draft out of the University of Alabama. A nine-time Pro Bowl selection, Thomas registered a franchise-record 126.5 career sacks. The Miami, Florida native also holds Chiefs records for career safeties (3), forced fumbles (45) and fumble recoveries (19). Only two players in NFL history own more safeties or fumble return TDs (4) than Thomas. He ranks sixth in team history with 728 career tackles (558 solo) and also contributed 34 passes defense, 444 QB pressures and one INT. In recognition of his stellar NFL career, Thomas will be inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame along with the rest of this year’s enshrinement class on August 8, in Canton, OH.

Still, as vast as Thomas’ legacy was on the field, he also left an indelible mark in the Kansas City Community. Since he formed the Third and Long Foundation in 1990, more than 60 Chiefs players have created individual player foundation and/or charitable programming. Through his foundation, he attacked illiteracy with the same ferocity that he sacked opposing quarterbacks. Among other community activities, he also spearheaded the Chiefs Annual Thanksgiving Food Drive and would personally deliver these holiday baskets to the needy. Former President George H.W. Bush named Thomas as the “832nd point of light” for all his charitable endeavors. Thomas was also recognized as the 1993 NFL Man of the Year and garnered the Byron “Whizzer” White Humanitarian Award in 1995.


Derrick Thomas Photo Gallery

Thomas establishes the NFL single-game sack record with 7.0 sacks vs. Seattle (11/11/90).