During his Hall-of-Fame induction speech on Saturday night, Center Kevin Mawae said Zach Thomas is the one player he can name that deserves to wear the gold jacket.
After being AFC Division rivals for over a decade, both Mawae (Jets) and Thomas (Dolphins) both had respect and the greatest admiration for each other. As Mawae was conducting his HOF speech he made sure to mention his greatest competitor.
“Zach Thomas was my nemesis,” said Mawae, who played 16 seasons for the Seattle Seahawks, New York Jets and Tennessee Titans. “My first year with the Jets before the first game we played each other, [coach] Bill Parcells told me in front of my entire team, ‘If you don’t block Thomas, we won’t win the game.’ And for the next 16 matchups, I never forgot that.”
Zach Thomas was the center piece and the heart of the Dolphins defense and had the accolades to show. Thomas, was an eight-time Pro Bowl selection in his 12 seasons in Miami (1996-2007). He also earned first-team All-Pro recognition five times and led the NFL in tackles in 2002 and 2006.
“Zach was one of — if not the smartest — players I ever faced,” said Mawae, an eight-time Pro Bowl center. “He loved the game, had fun when he played and brought the best out in me. When people ask me, ‘Who is not in the Hall of Fame that I think should be?’ — it’s easy for me, number 54 from the Miami Dolphins.”
Many often question why Brian Urlacher is in while Thomas still waits for his call?
Thomas finished his career with 1100 solo tackles, 30 more than Urlacher. He also has 1 more All-Pro selection (5) and 5 more forced fumbles.
With the NFL’s celebrating its 100th season, the Pro Football Hall of Fame will expand the number of potential inductees to 20 in 2020. That could be Thomas’ best chance to get in and we will finally see number 54 in Canton, where he most certainly deserves.
Will Zach get in next year?
Why do you think he is getting passed up?