November 11th. An important day in my life because that's the day I was born. I'm proud to share it with Veterans' Day but it's also the anniversary of another important date: Derrick Thomas' seven sack game. On Nov. 11, 1990, Kansas City Chiefs LB Derrick Thomas sacked Seattle Seahawks QB Dave Krieg an NFL record seven times. It's a record that still stands today.
Since Thomas' death, the Chiefs have been looking for someone as devastating to replace him. Tamba Hali was a first round pick and he's a pass rusher so you know he got (unfair) DT comparisons. Clearly, Hali's not on DT's level. Thomas was a different kind of athlete on a different kind of team. Hali is 100 percent effort all the time. I feel like he's not as talented as Thomas. Not as big, or fast or strong. But there's something in Hali that reminds me of DT. That relentlessness he has at times.The never give up part.
So Tamba's clearly part of the Chiefs future, right?
Hali's agent tells Adam Teicher of the KC Star Hali wants to stay in KC but they're going to "wait to see how the season progressed" for both Hali and the Chiefs. "The ball is in their court," agent Brian Mackler told the Star.
I go back and forth at times figuring out with myself how important Hali is to the team. On the one hand, I say, Hali doens't seem all that athletic and fast which might suggest it's more about the scheme and less about the player. On the other hand, no one has effort like that guy from start to finish on every play. Maybe part of it's the system but a lot of it is on his end, too. At the end of the day, though, the guy is highly productive.
My guess is that Hali's in KC for a long time. As Teicher's story in the Star points out, Denver's season hasn't exactly been all roses after it was announced LB Elvis Dumervil was done for the year.
It's always tricky giving out contracts. You want to know how someone will react when they sign their name to $20 million over the next two years. You want to know if that same 100 percent effort will be there or if the same dedication and drive will be there. They're fair questions and part of figuring out who can handle that and who can't is in GM Scott Pioli's job description.
You also have to keep in mind who we're dealing with here. GM Scott Pioli while with the Patriots, along with Bill Belichick, parted ways with plenty of good players. It's always about the team and what's best for the team. If signing Hali to a big deal isn't best for the Chiefs long-term future, then they won't do it. It seems crazy to think specifically regarding Hali but Chiefs fans need to retrain how they think. At some point, a player like Hali, or someone we view as a critical piece of the future, will walk because Pioli believes it's better for the team. It worked (at times) in New England so I'll defer to his judgment on who stays and who goes.
We'll see if the Chiefs and Hali can get something done. Every time Pioli and Haley talk about the type of players they want, I think they could be describing Hali so I'd imagine he's here for the long-haul.