Former Miami Dolphins linebacker Zach Thomas is one of the most dangerous defensive players in league history.
Thomas retired more than a decade ago after a terrific stint in the pros, but where is the ex-middle linebacker now?
Zach Thomas' NFL Career
Zach Thomas grew up in Pampa, Texas, and attended Pampa High School and White Deer High School. He played college football at Texas Tech University, where he earned First-Team All-American honors.
After his last year at Tech, the Dolphins selected Thomas in the fifth round of the 1996 NFL Draft. The pick would turn out to be an absolute steal for the franchise, and Dolphins fans soon had a new favorite player on the defensive side of the ball.
Across 12 AFC seasons in Miami, Thomas was a seven-time Pro Bowl linebacker and a five-time First-Team All-Pro selectee. He recorded 1,640 tackles, 17 interceptions, 16 forced fumbles, and 19.5 sacks with the Dolphins, including four defensive touchdowns throughout his career.
Thomas was guided by the teaching of various marquee head coaches such as Jimmy Johnson, Nick Saban, and Dave Wannstedt.
After an injury limited Thomas to just five games in 2007, the linebacker signed a one-year contract with the Dallas Cowboys in the offseason. It was the first time he featured for a team other than the Dolphins and would be his last year.
Thomas officially retired in 2010 after signing a one-day contract with the Dolphins.
Zach Thomas Now
The HOF Selection Committee is meeting virtually today to discuss the candidates for the #PFHOF21 Class.
— Pro Football Hall of Fame (@ProFootballHOF) January 19, 2021
Nowadays, Thomas is focused on family life. He lives with his wife and their three children in Florida.
In terms of football, what's next for Thomas? Canton, most likely. It's just a matter of when.
Unlike his teammate Jason Taylor, Thomas wasn't enshrined as first-ballot Hall of Famer. Instead, Thomas is still waiting his turn.
Many believed he had a chance in 2021 when he was named one of 15 modern-era finalists for the Pro Football Hall of Fame. When the HOF announced the class, however, Thomas was left out.
Instead, Charles Woodson, Peyton Manning, John Lynch, Alan Faneca, and Calvin Johnson Jr. earned HOF enshrinement honors in the modern era.
Despite never winning a Super Bowl, the credentials are all there for Thomas in terms of Hall of Fame candidacy. Hall of Famer and ex-New York Jets center Kevin Mawae described the Dolphins' linebacker as his "nemesis" on the field.
Mawae isn't the only one to endorse Thomas as a future Hall of Famer, either. In a video for the HOF committee, Thomas was praised by Hall of Fame linebackers Ray Lewis and Brian Urlacher and Manning.
While 2021 wasn't the year for Thomas, the former Dolphin is deserving of enshrinement in Canton, and it's only a matter of time until he gets his gold jacket.
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