Tampa, Fla Derrick Thomas, the late Kansas City Chiefs linebacker, and five others made the Pro Football Hall of Fame on Saturday, while former commissioner Paul Tagliabue was denied entry for the third straight year.
Also selected were career sacks leader Bruce Smith; versatile defensive back Rod Woodson; longtime Buffalo Bills owner Ralph Wilson; former Minnesota guard Randall McDaniel; and the late Bob Hayes, a standout wide receiver for Dallas and the 1964 Olympic 100 meters gold medalist.
Inductions will be Aug. 8 in Canton, Ohio.
Thomas, who died nine years ago after an auto accident while still an active player, was on the 1990s all-decade team and was the 1989 defensive rookie of the year. He is 11th in career sacks with 1261⁄2.
A rushing outside linebacker who also had responsibilities in pass coverage for Kansas City, Thomas set an NFL mark with seven sacks in one game against Seattle on Nov. 11, 1990, a year in which he paced the NFL with 20 sacks.
“Derrick Thomas was the cornerstone of the modern era of the Kansas City Chiefs and one of the most feared performers of his era,” Chiefs owner Clark Hunt said. “Every head coach and offensive coordinator who faced the Chiefs during the 1990s knew when they came to Arrowhead Stadium they had to account for Derrick Thomas.”