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Emmitt Thomas
Jersey #(s)
Born June 3, 1943 (1943-06-03) (age 66)
Angleton, Texas
Career information
Year(s) 19661978
Undrafted in 1966
College Bishop
Professional teams

Playing career

Coaching career

Career stats
Interceptions 58
Interception yards 937
Touchdowns 5
Stats at
Career highlights and awards

Emmitt Earl Thomas [1] (born June 3, 1943) [2] is the assistant head coach and secondary coach of the National Football League's Atlanta Falcons. He is a former college and professional football player who played for the American Football League's Kansas City Chiefs from 1966 to 1969, and then for the Chiefs in the NFL from 1970 to 1978. [3] He owns the Chiefs all-time interception record with 58, which places him ninth on pro football's all-time list.[3] Thomas was elected to the NFL's Pro Football Hall of Fame after being nominated by the Seniors Committee.[4] Thomas is the thirteenth Chief player elected to the Hall of Fame, joining (majority of career Hall of Famers) Len Dawson, Buck Buchanan, Bobby Bell, Willie Lanier, Jan Stenerud, Marcus Allen, coach Hank Stram, founder/owner Lamar Hunt (minor portion of career Hall of Famers), Joe Montana, Warren Moon, Mike Webster, and coach Marv Levy.


Playing career

Thomas made the Chiefs team as an undrafted free agent from Bishop College in Dallas.[3] Thomas was an AFL All-Star in 1968 and made the NFL's AFC-NFC Pro Bowl 4 times (1971, 1972, 1973, 1975) after the Chiefs joined the NFL in the 1970 AFL-NFL Merger. He was also selected All-Pro 3 times. In the 1969 season, he led all pro football with 9 interceptions, which he returned for 146 yards and a touchdown, helping his team win the AFL Championship and the fourth and last AFL-NFL World Championship Game, which the Chiefs won 23-7 over the NFL champion Vikings. Thomas recorded an interception in the Kansas City victory. In 1974, Thomas led the NFL in interceptions (12), return yards (214), and return touchdowns (2).

Thomas retired from playing after thirteen seasons; he finished his pro football career with 58 interceptions, which he returned for 937 yards and 5 touchdowns. He also recovered 4 fumbles, gained 64 yards returning punts, and returned 29 kickoffs for 673 yards. He played in 181 career games, tying for the 5th-most in club annals, and his 58 interceptions are a franchise record.

Coaching career

Thomas has been an NFL assistant for six teams in the last 26 years. Before being named interim head coach of the Atlanta Falcons on December 12, 2007 after the resignation of Bobby Petrino, Thomas was the Falcons' Senior Defensive Assistant/Secondary Coach. After Petrino's sudden departure left the team in shambles, Thomas attempted to unite the Atlanta locker room, and was able to lead the Falcons to a season-ending victory over the Seattle Seahawks. On January 24, 2008, new Falcons head coach Mike Smith announced that Thomas would remain on staff as assistant head coach. Thomas was voted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame along with Darrell Green and Art Monk, two players he coached during Super Bowl runs with the Washington Redskins.

On January 13, 2010, longtime Atlanta Falcons assistant coach Emmitt Thomas' contract was not renewed by the team.

Personal life

Thomas and his wife, Jacqui, reside in Suwanee, Georgia. He has two grown children from a previous marriage . His son Derek is the former head basketball coach at Western Illinois University, while his daughter Dedra is a nurse and resides in Marshall, Texas.

See also


External links

Sporting positions
Preceded by
Bud Carson
Philadelphia Eagles Defensive coordinator
Succeeded by
Jim Johnson
Preceded by
Fritz Shurmur
Green Bay Packers Defensive coordinator
Succeeded by
Ed Donatell
Preceded by
Foge Fazio
Minnesota Vikings Deffensive Coordinator
Succeeded by
Willie Shaw
Preceded by
Bobby Petrino
Atlanta Falcons Head Coach (interim)
Succeeded by
Mike Smith


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