He set a standard yet to be duplicated. Many consider the 6-3, 245 pound defender to be the greatest pass rusher in collegiate history. “In Search of Derrick Thomas” directed by Joe Lavine is set to debut on the SEC Network Tuesday, September 29th at 8 PM CDT. Belk at The Summit hosted a private reception and worldwide premiere screening of the documentary on Monday evening in Birmingham. A Q&A session moderated by Greg McElroy, former Alabama quarterback, currently an SEC Network College Football Analyst, ensued in the Summit Cinema.
The project chronicles the life and times of the 1988 Butkus Award winner. Narration of the SEC Storied film was done by Matt Naylor, a son the legendary linebacker never knew. The journey to discover his famous parent is explored in a parallel narrative.
Among those attending the event were Thomas family members including Ms. Edith Morgan, mother of Derrick, former Bama teammates, Cornelius Bennett, Stacy Harrison, Bobby Humphrey, Kermit Kendrick, Wayne Shaw and David Smith, former Tide assistants Joe Kines and Ken Meyer, University of Alabama Athletic Department and SEC officials, and Director of the Paul W. Bryant Museum, Ken Gaddy and staff members.
Carl Peterson, the man responsible for selecting Thomas in the first round, fourth overall in the 1989 NFL Draft, former President and General Manager of the Kansas City Chiefs, joined the festivities in the Magic City.
ESPN personnel on the scene included Vice President and Executive Producer, ESPN Films and Original Content, John Dahl, SEC Storied Producer, Kenan Holley, Coordinator Production Management, Vanessa Diaz, Project Production Assistant, Aubrey Marcinko and Public Relations for College Networks, Gracie Blackburn.
Thomas was a nine time Pro-Bowler for the Chiefs. Tragedy struck in January 2000 as the 11-year NFL veteran was paralyzed by injuries sustained during a car crash. Less than three weeks later he died at age 33 as the result of a pulmonary embolism. He was posthumously inducted into the College and Pro Football Halls of Fame (2014 & 2009).
Bennett, Peterson and Naylor visited with BamaMag.com to discuss the incomparable Derrick Thomas.