PFT Heroes 2009: The Derrick Thomas Award


Our next PFT Heroes award is named for former Chiefs linebacker Derrick Thomas, who was added to the Pro Football Hall
of Fame to launch the 2009 season.  (Carl Peterson should be wrapping up his speech any minute now.)

No linebacker had a greater impact during the decade that Thomas
spent harassing quarterbacks.  His exploits included an uncanny seven
sacks in one game, causing Dave Krieg to still pee a little whenever he sees the number 58.

After 11 NFL seasons,
Thomas suffered serious injuries in a January 23, 2000 automobile
accident.  Paralyzed from the waist down, a blood clot ended his life
not long thereafter.

He helped the Chiefs get to the playoffs ten times, and he was named
the league’s Man of the Year in 1993.  In eight straight seasons, he
participated in the Pro Bowl.

Though Redskins linebacker London Fletcher didn’t win the 2009 NFL Walter Payton Man of the Year Award, Fletcher was one of three finalists — and he also made it to the Pro Bowl for the first time in his career.  Unlike the various players who immediately started limping upon learning that they’d been named to the team, Fletcher embraced the honor

And so for his contributions to a team that struggled to a 4-12 finish in 2009, we’ve decided to give the Derrick Thomas Award to London Fletcher, who is still going strong more than a decade after anchoring the defense of the Super Bowl XXXIV-winning Rams.

We realize that other linebackers had a greater impact on the field this past year than Fletcher, but if more of the guys on the Washington roster had his heart and skill, maybe our Super Bowl prediction wouldn’t have gone so horribly wrong.

22 responses to “PFT Heroes 2009: The Derrick Thomas Award

  1. “Unlike the various players who immediately started limping upon learning that they’d been named to the team, Fletcher embraced the honor.
    He was an alternate & probably realized that this is his only/last chance, outside of buying a ticket, to be at the game.

  2. Then this award goes for the decade? If so, good choice. If not, he should not have been in the pro bowl. But he is a good person, so I can move on.

  3. I think this is a good choice. Fletcher is a great ‘character’ guy, who leads first by example – even when stuck on in dysfunctional organization.

  4. Told you you were gonna say Fletcher. Good player, but how big of a deal is it that he’s a good player on a crappy team? There are better players on better teams. You start talking about heart and skill, would you rather have a team full of London Fletchers or a team full of Demarcus Wares? I guess I didn’t know it was a lifetime achievement award but I knew you would pick Fletcher anyway.

  5. Derrick Thomas died because he was speeding and swerving through traffic like a maniac in inclement weather which also resulted in the death of his friend. Neither were wearing seat belts while another person in his big SUV who wore a seat belt was okay. It is offensive to name an award after an individual whose very demise is not mutually exclusive from his positive exploits on the field for the Chiefs during the 90’s. How convenient leaving out those facts concerning his death in that 3rd paragraph. Let’s give the O.J. Simpson Award for excellence in running backery to Chris Johnson tomorrow.

  6. And tell us what he has won Johnny…..Well, for this prestigious award Mr.Fletcher gets the home version of PFT,and a lifetime subscription.

  7. when is Patrick Willis going to get some recognition? He is a great character guy and a better linebacker than anyone else in the league but he gets no DPOY consideration, no awards, nothing.

  8. Screw Derrick Thomas. How many rings HE got? I was at the Monday night game in 1997 when the undefeated Broncos came storming into Arrowhead with a banged up Elway in sweats on the sidelines, and the Broncos and especially Shannon Sharpe exposed them for the punk ass bitches they were. All that next week I had to listen to and see Marty and DT cry on local television because of the MELTDOWN Derrick Thomas had in that game because he let Sharpe get in his head. He facemasked Sharpe at least three times in the latter part of that game and was trying to rip the Broncos TE’s head off.
    DT’s running mate Neil Smith, went to Denver and got him some rings.
    DT never had any wins that meant anything.

  9. Is this the same London Fletcher that killed one or two people while DUI ? when he was with the Rams and got a slap on the wrist ?

  10. I am a bit concerned by idiots who think the measure of a great player is by how many rings he has–especially true for quarterbacks. How many rings did Barry Sanders have? None? Well, he must suck. Dan Marino? None. He sucked! Oh, and how many did Derrick Thomas have?

  11. @SaintsBucsPanthersSUKK 2.0OH!
    So neither you nor anyone you love has ever driven over the speed limit or failed to wear a seat belt? Wow. That’s amazing. It’s also not to be believed.
    That you would compare someone who died in a car accident to a knife-wielding maniac who slaughtered two people says a lot about your sense of perspective. You have none. I’d say you should be ashamed of yourself, but I doubt you have any shame either.
    You’re just an ass. It’s not all about the rings, baby. And before you smart off at me, I’m a Steelers fan. My team has more than yours. You should be mature enough to look past team rivalry and recognize a great player for what he brought to the game.

  12. LMAO @ WTF
    “Is this the same London Fletcher that killed one or two people while DUI ? when he was with the Rams and got a slap on the wrist ?”
    You fuggin dunce…
    That wasn’t London Fletcher who is a model citizen, good teammate and all around good human being with a foundation for children, etc. He’s led the nfl in tackles this decade and never missed a game, I think….
    You thinking of Leonard Little. Who’s last name explains why he felt the need to go out, get blasted, drive and get caught multiple times while killing someone in the act in one instance.
    Confusing those two is like confusing OJ Simson and Martin Luther King.

  13. @ WTF- That is Leonard Little that you’re thinking of.
    Let’s change the description of the “Derrick Thomas award” from “Top Linebacker” to what it really represents, as what your selecting London Fletcher has proven…”Top Linebacker on a Garbage Team.” For this award, I don’t think Ray Lewis or Patrick Willis should have been considered. I think players more fitting for this honor are: Kirk Morison, Oakland, and Barrett Ruud, Tampa Bay.

  14. Let’s see, I guess the “Derrick Thomas Award” is supposed to be a great honor named for a great human and great LB, right. Great pass rusher does not necessarily equal great LB. That game that Thomas got his 7 sacks in was a Chiefs’ loss if memory serves. The Chiefs won squat while having the great Derrick Thomas on the field. The reckless action which resulted in his death endangered everyone near him on the road that day. The reckless conduct of his private life left a trail of unwed baby’s mommas and their offspring. What a role model!

  15. @Deb
    Deb Deb Deb Deb Deb…….It shouldn’t be hard to believe that there are a vast amount of people out there who live life on the straight and narrow, but obviously in your case your viewpoints a result of poor parenting by your mummy and daddy. Most likely you are from a broken home, statistics speak as much, and you harbor ill will towards those who have been blessed with a life of stability and raised in a warm and caring environment. Your sarcasm tips off everything that’s wrong with you my poor aimless child.
    You have your facts wrong regarding O.J. Simpson, he wasn’t found guilty in criminal court. Sure there’s that $25 million civil court thingy but that’s a footnote as to his jail time for trying to rob sports memorabilia dealers with guns. Don’t brush off the irresponsibility of Thomas’ actions, two died and one or both may or may not have had children. Think about 10 whole years without the financial and emotional support of a parent, both who may have been the breadwinners of such a family unit.
    Now about Ray Lewis………………….

  16. @SaintsBucsPanthersSUKK 2.0OH!
    It’s just not your night, darlin’. I’m a lovely law-abiding Christian girl from a perfectly stable home. I was reared by two loving, still-married parents who taught me good manners, positive values, and that actions have consequences. We’re Southern, so the consequences to my inappropriate actions growing up were firmly applied to my fanny. I don’t drive to the end of my street without buckling up. But since I was taught that honesty is the best policy, I will admit I’ve been known to violate the speed limit. And since there are no dew drops behind my pretty lil ears, I’d bet you have, too.
    I have two criminal defense attorneys in the immediate family, so I do understand that Mr. Simpson was acquitted of the criminal charges. I just don’t agree with the verdict. As for the civil suit, I question the Constitutionality of filing civil suits to thwart criminal verdicts, so that didn’t cross my mind.
    Yes, Derrick’s actions were irresponsible. (The other adults in the car were responsible for buckling their own seat belts.) The consequences were tragic. That you would compare his driving too fast without wearing a seat belt to O.J. Simpson ALLEGEDLY murdering two people indicates you have no sense of perspective, and you should be ashamed of yourself.
    But I think I said that already.

  17. Deb says: February 14, 2010 10:09 PM
    “…so the consequences to my inappropriate actions growing up were firmly applied to my fanny.”
    Good God woman you were a victim of physical and emotional abuse. The Simpsons is on in 8 minutes so all I have time to say is may your all-loving deity bless you the rest of your days and say 2 “Our Father”‘s and a “Hail Mary” every day during prayer. Out.

  18. Dave Krieg could not have been peeing that much as, if you’ll recall, the Seahawks still won that game on a last second TD pass from Krieg.

  19. @SaintsBucsPanthers…..
    Regarding your question of whether or not Derrick Thomas and his passenger left any children; Derrick Thomas’ heirs filed suit against General Motors after his death alledging that the SUV he was driving was defective. They lost. The heirs were a total of seven minor children with five mothers. Total marriages for Mr. Thomas? Zero.

  20. @Deb
    Resident goomba Mike Florio blocked my response to you last night, there was no reason to do that for no vulgarity was involved, but rest assured I set you straight. My mission in life is to learn y’all so you can achieve ascension, before it is too late. Out.

  21. @SaintsBucsPanthersSUKK 2.0OH!
    I don’t think Florio personally blocks posts, but sometimes the moderators like to play hide the post and post it later.
    Oh yes, poor abused me. And on top of it all, I’m a misguided protestant. But you be sure to light a candle for me, love. Every little bit helps 😉

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