KANSAS CITY, Mo. — As Chiefs Kingdom prepares for Super Bowl LVIII, Kansas City is also remembering the Chiefs legend who once wore jersey No. 58.
Former Chiefs linebacker Derrick Thomas achieved greatness on and off the field.
He played eleven seasons with the Chiefs and had nine Pro Bowl selections.
Thomas was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2009.
He also helped start the Third and Long Foundation to educate and empower children by giving them opportunities they wouldn’t otherwise have.
Derrick passed away 24 years ago on February 8th, 2000.
He was in a traffic accident and died two weeks later from a blood clot.
For his son, Derrion Thomas, this Super Bowl is another way to keep his dad’s legacy alive.
KSHB 41 reporter Elyse Schoenig sat down with Derrion on this anniversary.
Elyse: “What does Super Bowl LVIII mean to you?”
Derrion: “This year actually, I’m 33, which is the age he was when he passed away. So that makes it even more emotional It being Super Bowl LVIII and what my dad meant to the team, and how he isn’t able to be here for this…to see these guys pull it out and be here to play Super Bowl LVIII and that kind of being a representation of my father is truly special.”
Elyse: “I know that you and Neil Smith and all these Chiefs greats have worked to better the Kansas City area and really just the football community. Can you talk about some of the ways you guys have done that through the Third and Long Foundation?
Derrion: “Giving kids experiences and helping them learn to read and inspiring them to want to learn more about different subjects, and so reading was really the cornerstone (of the foundation), but it grew into more of an enrichment program to where kids got to meet astronauts and got to meet Supreme Court justices and things like that. We continue that work now.”
Elyse: “It is Super Bowl LVIII, but I think Chiefs fans and football fans across the country also think of No. 58, and that just shows how strong your dad’s legacy is. What does that mean to you and your family?”
Derrion: “It’s a little emotional to think about it because that was one of the goals that he unfortunately never got to accomplish and so for it to be such a big deal, and for his name to be associated with the Super Bowl, not winning the Super Bowl, but for it to still be associated with the Super Bowl, I guess it’s still a win in itself. Being around him as a person was like catching lightning in a bottle. I mean to walk into a room with him, it was like time stopped and everybody turned around. He just had that effect.”
So here’s to Super Bowl LVIII and No. 58.
Derrion and the rest of the Third and Long Foundation are selling number 58 buttons and T-shirts. A portion of proceeds will go to the foundation to continue its mission.
For more information, you can head to their Facebook.