Derrion Thomas had been waiting for the call for five years.

Derrion Thomas had been waiting for the call for five years.
When it finally came, the Blue Springs South senior let out a deep sigh of relief, looked toward the heavens, and smiled.
His father was finally elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
“There were times when it seemed like it would never happen,” said Thomas, the son of late Kansas City Chiefs All-Pro linebacker Derrick Thomas.
“I was a lot younger the first couple of times my father was up for induction, but we all just thought it would happen right away. He was one of the best defensive players of his era, and he meant so much to the Chiefs and their fans.
“It’s just a relief to see that he finally made it. I thank God that it happened. It means a lot to me.”
Derrion was a third grader at Notre Dame de Sion when his father was injured in an automobile accident in 1999 as he drove to Kansas City International Airport to catch a flight to St. Louis to watch the NFC Championship game.
The nine-time Pro Bowl player was paralyzed from the chest down in the accident and later died from a blood clot that traveled to his lungs.
Every time I see Derrion, I think of his father.
The elder Thomas lived just a mile or so from my home in Independence, and I would see him at the gas station, Tim’s Pizza or jogging through the neighborhood.
And I made sure to stop by his locker and visit every day I made the trek out to Arrowhead Stadium to cover the Chiefs.
Derrion looks so much like his father, it’s eerie.
And on one memorable day, he played like him, too.
Wearing his father’s No. 58 shoulder pads – a gift from Kansas City Chiefs equipment man Alan Wright – Derrion had five sacks against Rockhurst quarterback Nathan Scheelhaase last season in a stunning 14-9 Blue Springs South Class 6 state quarterfinal win.
“When I wore those pads, I felt like my dad was with me,” Derrion said. “But now, those pads are going to the Pro Football Hall of Fame.”
Derrion will present the pads to the Hall, and hopes to be a part of his father’s induction ceremony Aug. 8 in Canton, Ohio.
“Those details are being worked out,” he said. “I have my hotel room in Canton, and I’m going to be there. I wouldn’t miss it for anything.”
After a stellar senior year, the younger Thomas is considering his collegiate options.
Alabama, his father’s alma mater, and Florida State University have requested film on the young man who gave up an all-state swimming career to play football as a senior.
“I want to be my own man, to be known as Derrion Thomas, not just Derrick Thomas’ son,” Derrion said. “I’m proud of everything he accomplished as a football player, and now, it’s time for me to make a name for myself, too.”