Former Red Raider Zach Thomas inducted into Pro Football Hall of Fame

Published: Aug. 5, 2023 at 4:41 PM CDT|Updated: Aug. 5, 2023 at 6:51 PM CDT
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LUBBOCK, Texas (KCBD) - Former Red Raider linebacker Zach Thomas was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame Saturday in Canton, Ohio.

Thomas received his gold jacket as part of the 2023 class entering the hallowed hall. KCBD’s Pete Christy was in Ohio covering Thomas’ induction.

Read more about Thomas’ 13-year NFL career below:

Zach Thomas, a 5′11″, 235-pound linebacker out of Texas Tech, was drafted in the fifth round (154th overall) in the 1996 NFL Draft by the Miami Dolphins. Thomas spent the majority of his 13-­year career in Miami (1996-2007) before capping it with a final season in Dallas (2008).

Thomas was a versatile middle linebacker who made an immediate impact. During his rookie season, he intercepted three passes for 64 yards, had one touchdown, 131 tackles, plus 49 assisted tackles and two sacks to earn the team’s MVP honors and was named AFC Defensive Rookie of the Year (1996). Thomas credits his success to being well prepared. He wasn’t the biggest or fastest player on the gridiron, but he always knew where the play was going.

Throughout his 12-year stretch with the Dolphins, Thomas led the team in tackles in 10 seasons and racked up 100 tackles in each of his first 11 seasons. He led the Dolphins to the playoffs five consecutive years (1997-2001) and amassed 22 tackles (14 solo) in the 2001 playoff game against the Baltimore Ravens.

During his career, Thomas registered 20.5 sacks and amassed 17 interceptions for 170 yards and four touchdowns – a Dolphins’ career record for interceptions returned for touchdowns. He played in 184 games including 168 starts for the Dolphins, which was the most for the team by a defensive player.

Thomas was voted first-team All-Pro five times (1998-99, 2002-03, 2006), second-team All-Pro twice (2001, 2005), was selected to seven Pro Bowls (2000-04, 2006-07) and named to the NFL’s All-Decade Team of the 2000s. He was the first player in Dolphins’ history to win the Leadership Award (voted by teammates) three times.