At halftime of the Broncos’ Week 13 matchup with AFC West rival Kansas City, the Chiefs will retire the No. 58 of late Hall of Fame linebacker Derrick Thomas, who holds franchise records for sacks, safeties, fumble recoveries, and forced fumbles.
To Elvis Dumervil, the ceremony will hold a little bit of an extra meaning. Like Thomas, Dumervil was born in Miami. His high school, Miami Jackson High School, was about a 15-mile drive from Thomas’ high school, South Miami Senior High School.
Growing up in such close quarters to the nine-time Pro Bowler, Dumervil always looked up to his hometown counterpart and his accomplishments on the football field, trying to model his game after the elite pass rusher.
“I thought he was kind of so-called undersized, playing the position that he was playing as a rusher at the time,” Dumervil said. “He was very explosive. He made big plays. He changed the game, getting off, the forced fumbles, the what — seven sacks in one game? He was a trend setter and he will always be remembered.”
On Feb. 8, 2000, Thomas, who played all 11 of his pro seasons in Kansas City, died from a massive blood clot that developed following severe injuries sustained in a car accident weeks earlier. Considered one of the best pass rushers of his generation with 126.5 sacks to his name, Thomas was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame last August.
Dumervil, who leads the league with 14 sacks through 11 games, hopes he can pay tribute to Thomas on Sunday by putting together a memorable performance at Arrowhead Stadium, such as Thomas usually did whenever he graced the field for the Chiefs.
“I think he should’ve already had his jersey retired,” Dumervil said. “But I guess that’s a special thing to be playing in Kansas City when they do that. So hopefully I can have a good game.”
There were no changes to the Broncos’ Injury Report on Thursday. The Chiefs had one change on their report. After being a limited participant in Wednesday’s practice session, RB Kolby Smith (Ankle) did not practice on Thursday.
Below are some pictures from the onset of Thursday’s practice session.
– Zach Eisendrath, DenverBroncos.com